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Cuenca airport runway resurfacing pushed to 2024

Published on July 17, 2023

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After discussions between the Cuenca Airport Corporation and local tourism organizations and airlines, the new runway is expected to be installed over a 90-day period in late 2024.

The Mariscal La Mar de Cuenca airport runway is scheduled to be closed in late 2024 for extensive repairs, which are expected to bring relief to tourism and travelers.

The urgent intervention is necessary to obtain international certification and improve services such as cross-border and international flights.

The director of the Cuenca Airport Corporation (CORPAC), José Luis Aguilar, stated that the runway intervention is the most urgent and expensive task at the airport, with an investment exceeding $8 million. The goal is to minimize the amount of time that the airport will be closed, initially estimated at three months.

Efforts are being made to reduce the delivery time of the runway repairs, and discussions with local tourism organizations and airlines are underway to determine the best dates for the work.

Universal support

Silvia Egües, manager of AyaxTravel and former vice president of the Association of Travel Agencies and Tour Operators and Tourism Wholesalers (AAGENTOUR), expressed support for the date change while emphasizing the need for prompt runway repairs. She urged the contractor to complete the work within 65 days, instead of the anticipated 90 days.

In addition to the runway intervention, there is a need for improved roads to complement the airport’s functionality. Local authorities have requested the Ministry of Transport and Public Works to transfer powers to administer the roads. Egües highlighted the importance of good roads, as the absence of proper infrastructure would hinder the airport’s impact.

Juan Pablo Vanegas, president of the Azuay Chamber of Tourism, echoed these sentiments and stressed the importance of a new runway being completed as quickly as possible. Discussions between the chamber and the Municipality are planned to further address this issue.

The airport’s development extends beyond the runway repair. To obtain international certification and facilitate cross-border flights, additional changes are required. Plans are in place to install two new boarding bridges donated by the Guayaquil airport. This will involve adapting the second floor for boarding and the first floor for disembarkation, with an estimated cost of $2 million. Furthermore, essential facilities such as migration, customs, and anti-narcotics measures must be implemented to enable international flights, which are currently routed through Quito.

The initial focus for cross-border connections is northern Peru, specifically Chiclayo and Piura, which would create a connection with Lima, a gateway to the world. The proposal also includes connections to Bogotá and Panama.

Timing is difficult as passenger numbers increase

CORPAC has outlined its plans, including the implementation of customs, migration, anti-narcotics, and agro-quality measures this year. The 1.9-kilometer runway intervention is scheduled for fourth-quarter 2024, followed by the installation of the boarding bridges. Cross-border flights and the addition of new airlines, such as Aeroregional, are also expected. These developments are anticipated to lower flight costs.

The demand for Cuenca airport continues to rise, with projections indicating a doubling of statistics from 2022 to this year. Avianca and Latam currently serve the city through the airport. CORPAC representatives recently met with the Ministry of the Interior to discuss the implementation of necessary facilities at the airport.

Passenger and flight data from previous years show fluctuating figures due to various factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the airport has experienced a steady increase in passenger numbers and flight frequencies since 2020.

1 Comment

  1. It should have flights for the USA. Cuenca has more expats from the USA then any other city in South America

    Reply

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