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image of runway at new airport Image of air traffic control tower

New airport cleared for take-off

Quito’s new international airport was a technically challenging project. The topography – the site is surrounded by active volcanoes – prevented the old and the new airports operating at the same time, meaning a phased opening of the new facility was not possible.

Lenders’ technical advisory services and critical risk management

The dedication, professionalism and support Mott MacDonald brought made a huge contribution to the project's success.

Aecon Concessions


It was the first capital airport since the new Hong Kong International Airport was opened in 1998 to require a ‘hard’ opening. In addition to the technical challenges, halfway through construction the Ecuadorian Government initiated a renegotiation of the terms of the concession contract. Construction was put on hold for 19 months while the revised concession was agreed. We maintained close relations with the concession sponsors’ group and senior airport management in order to keep the lenders fully aware of developments.


We provided a comprehensive range of technical, commercial and critical risk management services. We also monitored, assured and programme managed delivery of the airport, taking a hands-on role in IT programme management, commercial contracts and budgets, and critical risk management.

We strongly engaged with the Ecuadorian project team through mentoring and knowledge sharing, and provided training and guidance throughout.

Drawing on the broad skillsets in our team, when construction restarted we initiated risk workshops and collaborative working initiatives to highlight the stakeholder, relationship and project delivery issues that needed proactive management. All stakeholders were involved in this process to reinforce relationships and re-energise the project team. This led to all remaining milestones being met on time and a successful opening.


The project succeeded in delivering the key corporate social responsibility objectives of the Canadian Government who underwrote the construction contract in terms of cost, quality and timely delivery.

The new airport delivered over US$1bn of local economic benefit in construction alone and will inject over US$200M annually into the Greater Quito economy.

It is providing direct connectivity to Quito’s major export and tourism markets, and will transform the export of roses and provide travel connections to tourist destinations such as Quito, Cotopaxi, and the Galapagos. It has been voted the leading airport in South America for the last three years and won two UN sustainability awards.

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