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New Quito Airport Opening


After 52 years of service, the current International Airport of Quito, Mariscal Sucre [IATA airport code: UIO], switches off its lights and closes permanently on February 20th, 2013. The original airport was built in 1960 on 126 hectares of land, located in the north of Quito.

Due to its location in the middle of a city surrounded by mountains, the current airport cannot be expanded to accommodate any larger aircraft or an increase in air traffic. Its operation poses higher risks, too; six serious accidents and several incidents have taken place in recent years. When the original airport was built back in 1960 it was on the north edge of Quito … but during the last 50 years Quito has expanded northward, enveloping the airport.

As of February 20th, 2013, the new Quito International Airport will be inaugurated and starts its operations.

The new airport, which began construction in 2006, is about 10 times larger and sits on 1500 hectares of land aprox. 18 km east of Quito.

Here are the some comparisons between the original and  new airport:

  • Unlike the original airport which is located in the middle of the city, the new airport is outside of the city and therefore has a more than adequate safety/security zone (in case of accidents).
  • The original airport is located at 2800 m.a.s.l. (one of the highest airports in the world) and surrounded by mountains.  The new airport is located at 2400 m.a.s.l. and in a relatively open topography.
  • The original airport sat on 126 hectares of land with no possibility to expand (as the city grew around the airport in the meantime).  The new airport sits on 1500 hectares with between 70 to 100 hectares of land for possible future expansion.
  • The original airport has about 40 hectares (aprox.) of construction, while the new airport currently has 70 hectares of construction.
  • The passenger terminal(s) of the original airport is 28,700 m2, while the new airport terminal(s) occupy 38,000 m2 (first phase).
  • The original airport runway is 3120 m in length, while the new airport boasts a main runway of 4100 m ( also has a second runway of 2350 m).
  • The control tower of the original airport is 22 m high, while the new airport has a control tower of 41 m.
  • The original airport capacity to service 3,660,000 passengers, while the new airport some 5,000,000 in its first phase.
  • The original airport has 35 airline counters, while the new airport has 60 airline counters.
  • The original airport has parking for 32 aircraft, while the new airport currently has parking for 45 aircraft.
  • The car park of the original airport can hold 380 vehicles, while the new airport has space or 903 vehicles.

New Quito International Airport

Readers should keep in mind that due to the new location (near Tababela) it may take between 45 to 60 minutes (dependent on traffic conditions) to access the new airport from Quito.

There are currently three different routes to the new airport from Quito [detailed updates on airport access routes will follow as information becomes available, including maps, travel times, costs etc].

At the time of this publication, it is estimated that it will cost between USD $20 to $30 per person for airport transfers between the new airport and the city of Quito.

The future of the original airport is being finalized, but apparently it will be converted into an aquatic park (mini Central Park) with lagoons and a convention center (location of current terminal building.

posted on 31-01-2013