The New Quito Airport: Pros & Cons

The New Quito Airport: Pros & Cons

July 8, 2013

For all of our travelers out there, you may have heard about the new Quito airport that opened in February of this year. It still has the same name as the old airport, Mariscal Sucre International Airport, and is Ecuador’s primary airport, serving the country’s capital city of Quito and surrounding areas. Many discussions have arisen about the pros and cons of this new airport, so I thought I would share them with you.

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Cons:

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  • It is 20 km east of the city of Quito. (about 12.5 miles) While, this doesn’t seem like a lot, a quick taxi ride to city center is 50 minutes, while sources say that the traffic can be so bad as to make it up to 2 hours.
  • This traffic isn’t just at peak hours either, it is 18 hours per day.
  • And if you plan to take a shuttle service, it will take an extra 15 minutes.
  • At a mere 38,000 square meters (410,000 square feet), it is 27% smaller than the 6-year old terminal at Guayaquil on the coast, even though Quito handles more than two-thirds of Ecuador’s international traffic.
  • Kinks in cargo and customs facilities are still being worked out.
  • Quiport, the corporation that runs the airport, had to quickly promise to buy more seating and better buses after complaints from airlines and passengers.
  • The 72 check-in counters at the old airport have been decreased to 60.
  • Passengers who check in on the south side of the terminal reach security from the side frustrate other passengers and are accused of queue (line)-jumping.

Pros:

  • The facility is 10 times the size of the former airport site.
  • New cargo facilities almost double the old airport’s capacity.
  • The runway is the longest of any international airport in Latin American at 4.1 km (2.5 miles).
  • 2 taxiways, able to handle 44 operations per hour
  • The new airport is big enough to accommodate the landing of an Airbus A380, the world’s biggest passenger aircraft.
  • Designed to serve over 5 million passengers per year, compared to the 3.5 million capacity of the former airport.
  • 35% more pre-boarding areas
  • 33% more custom points
  • Approximately 30 hours of closing time per year less due to fog or weather related concerns.
  • The airport is on a progressive expansion plan, to meet the demands of an increase in passenger growth over a 35-year period.
  • Landing used to be quite challenging for pilots with the high altitude, cramped runway, towering volcanoes, and nearby mountains, but this is no longer is an issue.

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(Above is the old Mariscal Sucre runway)

All in all, there are many pros and cons (unfortunately). They are still working out many kinks after making such a great expansion. Despite these kinks, the pros of the Mariscal Sucre International Airport, I believe, still outweigh the cons because the cons will get worked out. Happy flying, travelers, and please comment to tell us your experiences to this new airport (or even the old one!).

Click here for more information on the Quito airport, like transportation, and other tips and advice.

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