Update: (August 15, 2012) Quito’s mayor, Augusto Barrera just announced that the new airport will be opening in February of 2013. After listening to representatives from the airline, transportation, business and tourism industries he decided to postpone the opening. Ample connector roads are being constructed to address some of the primary concerns. Also, due to the heavy passenger traffic during the months of December and January the opening has been moved ahead to February 2013. Read the full announcement (Spanish newspaper).
Update: (July 17, 2012) Yesterday, the results of the second contest to name the airport were announced (Spanish newspaper) – and it isn’t going to be the Mitad del Mundo International Airport after all. The new Quito airport will maintain the same name as the current one: Mariscal Sucre International Airport. The adjustment came about after the name had been chosen (from a set of four names: Manuela Sáenz, Carlos Montúfar, Eugenio Espejo y Ciudad Mitad del Mundo) during President Correa’s weekly address to the country. He suggested that the name could stay the same – so a second contest was launched and “Mitad del Mundo” lost out. There will be no name change for Quito’s new airport.
The new airport being built in Quito is being billed as the most modern one in Latin America. Construction began six years ago (2006) and after numerous delays, it is slated to open in October of this year.
Yesterday, the first flight landed at the new Mitad del Mundo International Airport located in the Tababela parish, about 20 km east of Quito. On the flight were numerous aviation and media representatives along with Quito’s mayor Augusto Barrera. They took a short 9 minute flight from the old (current) airport to the new one.
The larger airport (with a 4100 meter runway) will be able to accommodate flights from more distant destinations such as New York, Chicago, São Paulo, Madrid and Amsterdam thus making Quito and Ecuador more accessible to the world.
Concerns With Quito’s New Mitad del Mundo International Airport
It seems that during planning, some key factors got overlooked. We are concerned that these oversights will affect tourism significantly in Quito and throughout Ecuador.
With the inaugural flight yesterday, the airport is still lacking in a number of areas, including:
- Inadequate roads to get to the airport
- No hotels near the new airport, meaning that travelers must travel into Quito
- Transit time from the airport to hotels in Quito will range from 40 minutes to more than 2 hours at rush hour. Taxi fare will be roughly $30.
I would highly recommend Guayaquil Airport as an alternative – and avoid the hassles at the new Quito airport.
Visit Cuenca and the Andes on a Day Trip
One of the benefits of arriving/departing in Guayaquil is that you can tour the Andes and the colonial city of Cuenca on a day tour. Many guests like to explore the Andes after their Galapagos adventure. Leaving your Guayaquil hotel at 7 am by van, you will arrive in the Cajas National Park by 10 am. You can tour the Cajas then enjoy your lunch in Cuenca. In the afternoon you can tour the city, flying back to Guayaquil that night.
Growth To Watch For at Quito’s Airport
Quito’s new Mitad del Mundo International Airport is state of the art. Once the roads are improved and the hotel situation gets fixed, it will be very comfortable and open up many new flight destinations.
As the road/hotel situation improves, we’ll cover it here. But for now (the new airport opens in October 2012) we recommend flying into Guayaquil Airport.