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18 July 2012

New Quito International Airport reaches significant milestone with American Airlines inaugural flight

The development of the new US$460 million Quito International Airport in Ecuador achieved an important milestone on 2 July 2012 with the successful test flight of an American Airlines B757-200 aircraft. Passengers on the short flight from the existing airport to the new airport included Augusto Barrera, Mayor of Quito, as well as members of the project team including Mott MacDonald staff. This flight was the first commercial aircraft to land at the new airport as part of the operational preparations and follows the completion of the airfield in April 2012.

Mott MacDonald has acted as lenders’ engineer on the project since 2002, providing a full range of technical and commercial services covering all aspects of the project from airspace, through all aspects of the new and existing airports, to approvals and sign off of operational and construction expenditure. The consultancy is also working with the concessionaire, Quiport, and the municipality of Quito in the development of travel plans for the new airport.

Positioned 8,500ft above sea level, Quito International Airport will replace the city’s existing Mariscal Sucre International Airport which has no spare capacity and cannot be expanded due to its inner city location and 305m higher altitude.

The new airport, developed as a concession, has a 4.1km runway, making it the longest in Latin America. It will enable direct access to Europe and North America, developing inbound tourism and outbound export opportunities. It has been designed to full international standards and is capable of handling the largest aircraft in the aviation sector. Quito International Airport will also help Ecuador maintain its position as one of the world’s major exporter of roses, with over 19 million being flown per day in the peak season.

Mott MacDonald's project director Chris Chalk said: "This project has produced massive socio-economic benefits to the local community. Over 20 million Ecuadorian construction man hours have helped build the airport and two thirds of all the construction material has been sourced in the country. The airport has so far generated more than US$1 billion of economic activity and is expected to inject over US$200 million annually into the city’s economy."

"Close collaboration between services and suppliers from across the Americas and Europe with those from Ecuador has delivered a first class airport connecting the country to the rest of the world. We are now in the final stages of the project, which has been especially challenging given the logistics of the high Andes. Being part of the development of the original procedures it was particularly pleasing to see the theory turned to practice of the successful test flight with all systems checking out and a very smooth landing," Chris added.

The first trials were successfully completed on 16 July 2012 and substantial completion of the new airport is on schedule to be achieved by October 2012.


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