Confusion over new Quito airport start-up date

Under construction for several years, the last ""official" word on the new Quito airport operations start-up date pointed to October 2012.   The current airport is located very close to the city centre - up on the Quito plateau - and since its construction several decades ago, the city has grown all around it, resulting in a bad situation, with aircraft flying barely over the tops of buildings as the come for a landing (one small plane actually flew right into a building 3 years ago, during fog).

The new airport will be located down in the valley and will have a longer runway and overall better security and operation conditions.  However, this comes at a price.   Instead of being just a few minutes from downtown, it is much further.  With the current road access, the trip could take up to 1.5 hours during traffic hours.   The government of Ecuador has been working on improving the road access but apparently, that work is behind schedule.  

CNH Tours, through its network of Quito based associates is learning that in reality, the first commercial flights there may not happen until into 2013.   For one, the road infrastructure to the new airport is far from complete, and it seems all the final little jobs at the airport itself are not yet completed.  Our contacts in the commercial airline industry raised an eye-brow at the announcement of an October start date last March, saying that the general consensus amongst commercial airlines was that it would not be until early 2013 at best before things got going.   They still feel the same way.   In addition, on August 8th, the representatives of the production sectors, exporters and airlines sent letters to the Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Quito, also requesting a postponed startup of operations at the airport.

We'll see what happens!

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