Quito’s bounce back from COVID-19 continues to gather pace
Quito International Airport continues its recovery from the worst of COVID-19, welcoming back a significant number of international and domestic flights since resuming operations this summer.
Between them Avianca, LATAM and Aeroregional have resumed services to eight domestic destinations – Guayaquil, Cuenca, Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Manta, Loja, El Coca and Santa Rosa.
While its international route network has been boosted by the return of services to Amsterdam, Miami, Houston, Madrid, Fort Lauderdale, Mexico City and Panama.
Andrew O’Brian, president and CEO of airport operator, Corporación Quiport, enthuses: “Quito was the first airport in Latin America to resume national and international operations, implementing strict health protection measures and applying the protocols established by the national Emergency Operations Committee.
“At that time, the entire region remained expectant about what was happening in Quito. The evolution of passenger traffic has also been positive: we started with 20,000 passengers in June, which doubled to 42,000 passengers in July, while in August we transported more than 48,000 passengers.”
O’Brian reveals that Quito International Airport handled 166,000 passengers between June 1 and September 24, which he is happy with in the circumstances, but notes that the number of passengers handled by the airport in August represented only 10% of the traffic accommodated by the gateway during the same month a year ago.
He also knows that Quito’s recovery from the pandemic is likely to be a slow process based on the continued global impact of COVID-19.
“We knew from the beginning that recovering traffic would be a slow process,” admits O’Brian. “We trust that the elimination of negative testing requirements for COVID-19 for domestic travel, as well as the elimination of mandatory preventive isolation will serve as catalysts that accelerate the process of passenger growth.”
Another factor that will undoubtedly contribute to improving connectivity will be the upcoming resumption of international operations at the Bogotá and Lima airports, two of the destinations most in demand by travellers in Quito.
By December, according to Quiport projections, 13 airlines will operate at the Quito airport, reaching 10 international destinations. In 2019, 16 airlines flew to 18 international destinations.
In August, Quito International Airport became one of the first airports in Latin America to be accredited under ACI’s Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) programme.
The ACI Airport Health Accreditation is based on the recommendations of ICAO to establish common sanitary measures and is aligned with the best practices of ACI, as well as with the safety protocol of aviation developed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
According to ACI, the objective of this accreditation is to demonstrate to passengers, airport employees, strategic partners and authorities the actions that the certified airport has taken to prioritise health and safety.