Great news for those planning upcoming Ecuador Tours: Quito, Ecuador, now has a sparkling new airport, the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO). The Quito airport opened its doors on February 20th 2013 for international and domestic arrivals and departures.
This gleaming, state-of-the-art airport is located about a half-hour’s drive (15 miles) northeast of the center of the city. It features longer tarmacs (the longest runway is about 3000 feet longer than the old airport’s runway) and larger terminals with a capacity for 1 million more passengers.
Travelers bound for the Galapagos will find a check-in area and gate lounge designated just for them, and there are restaurants, cafes, and duty-free shops as well.
Another advantage of the new airport is that it is located about 1400 feet lower elevation than the old. Quito has an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,800 meters above sea level), and so the lower elevation will make it much easier for planes to land safely.
Quito’s existing airport was built over 50 years ago. The airport’s runway and terminals soon reached max capacity, especially with the influx of travelers wanting to visit the Galapagos Islands and see other unique destinations in Ecuador.
New Direct Routes
For those planning Ecuador tours from North America, they will benefit from an increase in direct routes to/from the Quito airport and Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, as well as Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.
Increased Departure Taxes
Because of the construction and opening of the new facilities, the airport departure tax has increased. Usually this tax is included in the ticket price, but anyone who purchased tickets prior to Feb 5th, 2013, for flights after the airport opened will be asked to pay the difference when they check in at the airline counter:
The difference for international departures is approximately $16 per person
The difference for domestic departures is approximately $8 per person
How To Get From the New Quito Airport to the City Center
If you are planning an Ecuador tour and will be arriving at the new Quito airport, you’ll want to include a transfer to and from the airport and the city center into your trip budget. A taxi one-way will charge about $15-30, but taxis will not be required to use a metered system. You may want to arrange in advance that a reliable driver and guide to greet you at the airport and take you to your hotel in Quito. Public buses are also available.
he neighborhoods of Otavalo and Cotacachi are closest to the new airport, so consider staying in a hotel in these districts if you will only be visiting the city for one day.