The health crisis caused by the Covid-2019 global pandemic is affecting the productive and commercial activities of the city and the country, where the air transport sector is one of the industries that felt its strong negative impacts.
Andrew O’Brian, President and CEO of Corporación Quiport, explained that “restrictions on air transport have seriously affected airports around the world with a decrease in passenger traffic to never before seen levels. In the case of the Quito airport, the reduction in passengers has reached 90%”, while the Covid-19 crisis has also caused a 65% drop in air exports. This means that operations must be kept with a minimum of personnel, putting thousands of jobs at risk. “Among all the organizations that operate at the Mariscal Sucre Airport, we generate some 8,500 jobs and many of them are in danger. We are all making significant efforts not to affect employees,” Mr. O’Brian stated.
In addition, he recalled that, since the beginning of the health crisis, the airport has remained open and operational 24 hours a day to serve cargo flights and repatriation flights for Ecuadorians and foreigners. "Quito's airport service is strategic, it is the city's gateway to the world," said Andrew O'Brian.
In this sense, restoring air transport is one of the key factors that will facilitate economic recovery. Corporación Quiport has been preparing during the past few weeks the airport service recovery plan based on the premise that it will be necessary to adapt to a new way of traveling, with new processes and protocols to care for passengers and airport collaborators.
“We are working together with the airlines and other members of the airport community and we already have a plan for returning to activities, probably as of June 1st. Naturally, the national Emergency Operations Committee (COE) will have the final say and everything will be carried out in coordination with the Quito’s cantonal COE, led by Mayor Jorge Yunda, the Metropolitan Public Company of Airport Services and the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, who are the authorities we maintain a constant line of communication,” reported Andrew O'Brian.
Mr. O’Brian explained that valuable lessons have been learned while managing repatriation flights about how airport operations should be carried out following the new sanitary requirements. "Beyond the date of opening of borders and resumption of flights, we are going to be ready, guaranteeing safety and health at the country's main airport," concluded Andrew O'Brian.