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

New airport cleared for takeoff

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

12%
Growth in international traffic in first year
24%
Growth in cargo traffic in first year

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Opportunity

Quito's new international airport 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 this posed, 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.

Solution

Mott MacDonald was retained to provide the lenders’ technical advisory services and critical risk management. We maintained close relations with the concession sponsors’ group and senior airport management to keep the lenders fully aware of developments.

We provided a comprehensive range of technical, commercial, and critical risk management services. We monitored, assured, and program-managed the delivery of the airport, taking a hands-on role in IT program 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 skill sets 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 reenergize the project team.

Outcome

Once construction restarted, all remaining milestones were met on time, leading to a successful opening.

The project succeeded in delivering the key corporate social responsibility objectives of the Canadian government, which underwrote the construction contract in terms of cost, quality, and timely delivery. The new airport delivered over $1 billion of local economic benefit in construction alone and will inject over $200 million annually into the Greater Quito economy.

The new airport provides direct connectivity to Quito’s major export and tourism markets. It 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 two years and won two UN sustainability awards.

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