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9 Facts About the Quito International Airport

Posted in: Ecuador Travel, Living in Ecuador, Quito Ecuador

Author Bio: Domenick Buonamici is the owner of the new Quito Airport Suites, just minutes from the main entrance of the new airport in Quito, Ecuador. See more at

Quito International Airport

When flying to Ecuador, you only have two options, you can fly into Guayaquil or Quito.

This week on February 20th, 2013 the new international airport in Quito is expected to open. This is huge news for Ecuador and anyone interested in investing here.

Many thought it would never open, myself included.

It’s just too inconvenient, the new airport is a good hour and a half from the city where the current airport is right smack dab in the middle of it in a cool yet terrifying sort of way.

Check out Dena’s review of the Quito Airport Hotel.

So why did they decide to build a new airport in Quito?  

The current one just got outgrown.  When constructed 60 years ago it was on the far fringes of the city, now its right in the northern central part of Quito.  It also became unsafe as about one or two planes a year fabulously overshoot the narrow runway.

Additionally, the airport and runway are not suitable for accommodating the larger planes that could drive prices down for flights (which is a big plus for stimulating tourism).

Benefits for the city of Quito?  


New Quito International Airport logo

The new airport will have profound effects on the city.  Skyscapers will now be allowed to be built higher, which could drive already high (for Ecuador) property prices downward.  The area around the current airport will probably wither on the vine, it already is a seedy area that will not get any better now that the legit airport-related businesses will be on their way out.

Many travelers whose final destination is somewhere in Ecuador other than Quito will probably opt to go through now more convenient Guayaquil or not bother to pass through the city of Quito at all scheduling their connecting flights back to back to their international arrivals.

The short Quito-Guayaquil flight is the most trafficked route in all of South America, but may not be any longer as more people will choose not to travel as often or use the bus considering the increase in travel times.

The area of the current airport will  be converted into a park, convention center and several large roads servicing the different areas of Quito.

Positive Effects on Ecuador Travel

Folks who live in the north of Ecuador in the Otavalo or Cotacachi area will be positively affected by the new airport as the new airport is now an hour closer to home and they no longer have to pass through the city of Quito.

Most travelers who plan to travel onward to the coast, Galapagos or Cuenca will probably opt to pass through Guayaquil where the airport is still smack dab in the middle of the city.

One positive effect for the country is that international airfares are likely to drop as more routes are added to the mix.  Also, national airfares are also likely to drop to the decrease in demand that is likely to be seen at least in the short run.

9 Interesting Facts about the Quito International Airport

  1. The runway measures 13,421 ft compared to the 10,236 ft runway of the current airport.
  2. The elevation of the new airport is at 7,800ft compared to the 9,200ft of the old airport making it a safer destination for planes.
  3. The capacity of the new airport will be 5 million travelers per year, roughly one million more than the actual airport.
  4. Taxi fares to or from Quito will range from $16-30 and taxis will not be required to use the taxi meter.
  5. New direct routes will be opened up immediately to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, México City, Nueva York, Los Angeles and Chicago.  Particularly great for folks who live in the western USA.
  6. Airport taxes will be increases roughly $9-15 on international fares but they are bult into the ticket prices as they are now.
  7. There will be no air traffic in Quito from 7pm on FEB 19 until the morning of FEB 20 as over 2500 trucks haul the equipment between the two airports.
  8. In 2017 the airport plans to begin to build a second runway.
  9. To arrive you can take the public buses from the Rio Coca station in the north of Quito or one of the transit buses that will leave from the old airport connecting it to the new one.
Quito airport

Author Bio: Domenick Buonamici is the owner of the new Quito Airport Suites, just minutes from the main entrance of the new airport in Quito, Ecuador.  See more at

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

52 comments… add one
  • Stewart Nov 30, 2014, 9:32 am

    Hello Bryan and Dena and Readers,

    Here is an update regarding happenings at this airport.

    First, there is a new 5 story mixed-use building built directly accross from the terminal. It has many restaurants, 2 bank branches, lower level parking and upper level offices. There is a tall curtain wall with advertising so you cannot miss it.

    Second, a Windham hotel is under construction a very short distance from the airport terminal. It will be a full service hotel strategically located to serve airport travelers.

    Third, there is a Hilton DoubleTree brand hotel planned on the outskirts of Puembo. This is a town very close to the Tababella airport. DoubleTree is full service as well.

    Lastly what has been going on with the highways?
    Earlier this year the northern connection called “Ruta Collas” connecting to Quito was opened then closed again after a strong earthquake and aftershocks caused damage to the adjacent hillside causing landslides. I understand it has recently been opened again after much hillside reinforcement, but this is still to be confirmed.
    The “Ruta Viva” which is the southern connection to Quito has been operating with only the 1st phase done. On December 15th the 2nd phase is scheduled for completion which will continue the route bypassing the Tumbaco town traffic and bottleneck at the old Rio Chiche bridge. This should eliminate pretty much all the congestion on this route.

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all!

    • Bryan Haines Nov 30, 2014, 6:39 pm

      Thanks for all this detail Stewart! It’s been 9 months since we been through the Quito airport.

  • Marque Jan 15, 2014, 12:43 pm

    With all of the grammar and spelling errors in this article, I can’t believe that the author is a journalist.For example, the word is “effects” (a noun), not “affects” (a verb). Just FYI…….

    • Bryan Haines Mar 4, 2014, 3:15 pm

      You are right. This was a guest post and I didn’t check it closely enough. I just edited it so I think it is all in order.

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  • Robin Dec 8, 2013, 9:56 am

    Great information concerning the new airport. I had no idea it was 1.5 hours further from Quito. I plan on visiting Quito in January 2014. I was already concerned about the safety of taxis. It appears all flights into Quito are late at night (from Miami that is). I will not arrive until midnight. Now I learn that I have a 90 minute cab ride to arrive at the b and b I will be staying at. I read on the US Travel State Dept. website that cabs have been robbed, intercepted by armed accomplices. I am very excited to visit Quito, if I can get past the taxi ride. Has anyone heard of safety issues with taxis?

    • Leticia Jan 20, 2014, 10:42 am

      Hi Robin!
      I am an Ecuadorian living in Guayaquil, I always travel to Quito because of work. The new airport is very uncomfortable in terms of how long it takes you to get to the city.
      There are several options in order to ensure your safety, although most of them require that you have a cell phone so that the drivers can call you to confirm you have landed.
      Some of the services I have used are:
      Aeroshuttle (
      Fastline (593 4 2202020)
      Aeroservicios ( – this is actually the official service from the Airport; they have buses that depart from the new airport and arrive at the old airport right in the center of the city. There, you still have to get a cab in order to get to your destination. Always take note if the cab has a stamp that says its the registered group that works at the airport. You can also ask a security guard just to be sure.

      Keep in mind that a cab may charge you from $25 to $30 usd for the ride; the aeroshuttle services are great because they charge only $15 usd… the downside is you may have to share your ride with other passengers.

      Best of luck!

  • Marilu Aug 21, 2013, 2:33 am

    The new airport in Quito probably will be better than the airport in Guayaquil , but when I visited Quito a few weeks ago, I found this distance from the city a big problem for international flights.. I mean, sometimes you need to leave the city 4 hours before your flight beacuse the bus only will be avaliable every 40minutes, and it takes 30-45 minutes more from the city to the new airport…

    • Stewart Dec 6, 2013, 8:27 am

      Greetings Bryan, Dena, Expats and Gringos outside Ecuador,

      Two days ago the first phase of a major highway opened up making travel to and from Quito to the new airport much easier. Checking they still are a few months late with their photos, but they show a yellow line denoted “Ruta Viva” which is Done! Also the connection where it ends at Via Lumbisi is Done and connects all the way to the main street, Av. Interoceanica which will take you to the airport, Tumbaco, Pifo, Cumbaya, etc.

      Work continues on the rest of the highway to eventually reach the airport at higher speeds. To the north by Calderon there is another highway section to connect to the airport in Tababela from there. Maybe someone knows how that’s going and can comment?

      Best to all,

  • Stewart Jun 4, 2013, 8:23 pm

    Last month I got the opportunity to visit the new airport on a weeknight picking up a relative from the States. My visitor was impressed, and I noticed a couple of things. The terminal was nice with national flights on the right and international on the left. Car rental companies were clearly visible and close by.

    While waiting my first impression was that the terminal needed more seats. As flights started to arrive one after another over 100 people filled the terminal with the majority standing. There really wasn’t room for more seats with all the luggage.

    A new office building is under construction across from the terminal entrance which may add some retail shops too. The point is they (Ecuadorian govt./owners) recognize there are shortcomings and are continuing to upgrade for example the roads, highways and bridges.

    Happy travels.

  • Barbara Apr 25, 2013, 10:24 am

    We are on our way to cuenca this summer thru quenca.Has anyone stayed at quito Airport Suites?Any comments would be appreciated.

    • Stewart May 26, 2013, 7:25 am

      Dear Barbara,
      Here is their link.

      I have not stayed there, but it looks accomodating and only 11 guestrooms per their website. If you can book a night and you need it, I’d say do it right away. There are no international hotels in Tababela. If you want to wait and your final destination is Quito, I’d say take a taxi or shuttle to Quito (1 – 2 hours drive) where there are many good hotels.
      Best regards,

  • Dom at Quito Airport Suites Apr 14, 2013, 2:20 am

    The travel times and costs are in after a month in existence…

    From new airport to Quito… 1 hr if there is no traffic (at night), 2 hrs if there is traffic (mid day). $20-25 in taxi.

    From new airport to Otavalo… $50-60 in taxi. 2 hours.

    From new airport to Cotacachi… $70-80 in taxi. 2 hours 20 minutes.

    From new airport to Papallacta… $20 in taxi. 1 hr to 1 hr and a half.

    You can also catch the bus from the nearby town of Pifo to Otavalo. If youd like more specific info on destinations and transfers please write us here at Quito Airport Suites via our site thanks, Domenick

  • Fred Collins Feb 24, 2013, 4:20 pm

    Off the plane and through customs in 35 minutes. Everything worked well. Back in the morning for our flight to Cuenca and check in was fast and smooth.
    The road will have to be improved (bridge too). Butover time this will be good for Quito.

  • Linda Feb 24, 2013, 9:33 am

    Our friends who flew in on the first day said that they had to circle for one and a half hours before being able to land. Other friends who live in Quito (who do lots of airport runs for people coming in and out) say they have not found places to stay around the airport. I’m sure that will change pretty quickly as the need for it is pretty great.

  • Stewart Feb 24, 2013, 8:13 am

    Last Wednesday was Day 1 of flight operation in Tababela’s new International Airport, but I don’t count it as Day 1 concerning traffic. Flights may have gone well, etc. but many schools remained closed after the holidays due to the airport move.

    My kids’ school, “Jose Engling Catholic School” located in Tumbaco (a town on the main route from Quito to Tababela) decided to open on thursday. Traffic was light because other schools still remained closed through friday. Also extra police helped traffic move along congested spots like the bridge at Rio Chiche.

    This monday will be a better test of traffic flow along Avenida Interoceanica (the main route). The planned “Ruta Viva” bypassing this route is well into construction, however it won’t be done for at least a year.

    Enjoy the airport! It’s brand new and beautiful.

  • Leo E Labertew Feb 23, 2013, 8:32 am

    There is a hotel close by however they are having problems with their payment processor and can’t take reservations. Its first come first served for now.

  • dieter homburg Feb 21, 2013, 4:50 pm

    i will be flying into quitos new airport I do not see any hotels close by

    does anyone have a clue ?
    please email me

    • Bryan Haines Feb 22, 2013, 5:30 pm

      If you look at the author bio on the post, you’ll see a link for a good option.


    • Dom at Quito Airport Suites Apr 14, 2013, 2:23 am

      Hi Dieter, please consider us at Quito Airport Suites thanks, Dom

  • Leo E Labertew Feb 21, 2013, 7:41 am

    Thanks for the update. I got a good price on a flight into Quito. However there’s an 11 hour layover. So its good to know that all is going well. I’m not planning on going into town but will hang out at the airport.


  • Garry Feb 20, 2013, 7:46 pm

    Well, this is day 1 of the new airport. Did all go as planned? I hope all was smooth as could be.

    Let us know what you find out Bryan and others!

    • Bryan Haines Feb 21, 2013, 6:57 am

      The local Cuenca paper had an article this morning (the day after the opening). It had 129 flights its first day and everything went smoothly. The paper noted these facts:

      • Located at 2,400 meters above sea level, the new airport will provide direct flights to places like London, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and New York.
      • That was unthinkable at the airport located in the city because the planes were taking off with a half load of fuel due to its high altitude, 2,800 meters above sea level, and its short runway.
      • The whole structure of the new airfield buildings are designed to withstand an earthquake of 9 degrees on Richter scale open.
  • gordon Feb 20, 2013, 12:04 pm

    My Apology please….In my last post, I said “Elevation over two miles long”….
    I ment to say “Runway over two Miles long” !!!!! Dummy !….Have a good Day….G

  • gordon Feb 20, 2013, 11:55 am

    From a Picture or two of the Cuenca Airport, it looks equipped for Commercial
    Jet, however the key is Elevation, Tempature, and length, of Runways !
    Ground Support should be easy enough to add rather quickly. I did note that the
    Elevation in Quito is something over two miles long……Gota think about how
    high the Mountains are to get over after you leave the Ground……The higher
    the Elevation the thinner the Air………G

    • Bryan Haines Feb 20, 2013, 12:17 pm

      I don’t know much about the technical aspects, my comment about the Cuenca Airport was in regards to Customs / Immigration offices. It would take some work to establish the infrastructure required for an international airport.

  • Garry Feb 19, 2013, 9:43 pm

    Hi Bryan

    I was talking about the airport and some how I was inundated with emails about GMO’s. Did I post in a wrong area?


    • Bryan Haines Feb 20, 2013, 5:39 am

      No, the conversation went offtrack. The GMO conversation has been moved. You shouldn’t get any more GMO updates from the airport post.

  • Bryan Haines Feb 19, 2013, 8:55 pm

    Thanks for this info Charlene. Can you share this on this post: Are You Concerned about GMOs in Ecuador?.


  • Charlene Feb 19, 2013, 6:45 pm

    Hi Bryan,
    Your attorneys were so very kind to reply to my inquiry about GMOs being banned by the Constitution. For now, it stands. Bravo, Ecuador! Hold your stand on banning GMOs! GMO’s have created so many health problems in the U. S. and Canada.

    Kindest regards to you and your family.

    • Bryan Haines Feb 19, 2013, 8:54 pm

      Thanks for looking into this Charlene. We just published a new post: Are You Concerned about GMOs in Ecuador? where this discussion can take place.


      • Charlene Feb 20, 2013, 7:27 pm

        Thanks, Bryan for beginning a new thread on GMOs! Now they are trying to push Genetically Engineered Salmon on us in the US!

  • gorodn Feb 19, 2013, 3:16 pm

    I always like to see progress, and a New International Airport is certainly a plus, but Transportation from it to other Cities may become a obstical, especially a Hour and a Half away its City…..Well done is done and I would think that Cuenca will hasten their effort to recieve International Traffic. Good Luck Equador, judging the USA Politics you could very well see a increase in traffic.

  • Garry Feb 19, 2013, 2:44 pm

    Hi Bryan

    I now live in Cotacchi. We travel quite a bit back and forth to Quito and we pass the new airport all the time.
    What we are told by the local taxi drivers, is that we will have to go to the old airport in order to be shuttled to the new airport and vice-versa when coming into Ecuador. Everyone has to be shuttled to the old airport all because the new road will not allow for all the new traffic until the road is finished. This will be an added burden and cost on the north traffic.

    Can you shed any more light on this topic?


    • Dom at Quito Airport Suites Apr 14, 2013, 2:26 am

      That is incorrect, from Cotacachi you can take the bus to Otavalo, and from there to Pifo which is just about 10 minutes from the new airport.

      Quito Airport Suites

  • Leo E Labertew Feb 19, 2013, 2:18 pm

    Thanks for the info I’ll be flying in on the 11th and not leaving until the next morning. Hope they have some good spots to chill.

  • Charlene Feb 19, 2013, 11:42 am

    Hi Bryan,

    I finally located the link for your attorneys and sent them an email inquiring about GMOs.

  • John Foote Feb 19, 2013, 11:17 am

    I suspect that the landings in the ‘old’ Quito airport ‘famously’ not ‘fabulously’ overshot the runway.

  • Charlene Feb 19, 2013, 10:37 am

    Hi Bryan,

    I don’t know where to really post this, but I am wanting to know if the banning GMOs is still a part of the Constitution of Ecuador? Would your attorneys happen to know?

    Thanks for your reply!

    • Bryan Haines Feb 19, 2013, 10:49 am

      I really don’t know. You can ask our lawyers – they might be able to direct you.

    • Don Feb 19, 2013, 1:23 pm

      for those of us who don’t know,what is DMO

    • Orlando Feb 19, 2013, 5:49 pm

      I hope it stills being part of the constitution. I don’t want GMOs in my country. Keep me inform please if you have some news.

    • Orlando Feb 19, 2013, 5:55 pm

      I will be followng this post about the GMOs and I hope Ecuador never allow GMOs. Please share if you have more information about it.

      • Linda Feb 19, 2013, 6:10 pm

        I realize this is off topic, but I am also interested in knowing about GMO’s in this country. And I am interested in any information anyone can give. Is there a place to discuss this?

  • Tom Warden Feb 19, 2013, 9:49 am

    I heard something about Cuenca – Miami flights starting up at some stage. Any news on that front?

    • Bryan Haines Feb 19, 2013, 9:50 am

      I’ve heard talk of international flights coming into Cuenca, but nothing concrete. I don’t think they have the infrastructure here to handle that – at least not yet. It will probably be a while.

  • Fred Collins Feb 17, 2013, 7:49 am

    Coming in to the new airport on Saturday. I hope it still has that New Airport smell!
    There will be a rough transition for a while, but the new Airport will be a great change in the long term.

  • Dom in Ecuador Feb 16, 2013, 8:19 pm

    Nobody really knows how it will work out but I think we all can agree it will be far less convenient than the current airport! Dom

  • Linda Feb 16, 2013, 10:08 am

    I think I’ll wait before flying into that airport. This article appears to be a regurgitation of the government’s PR efforts. I’ve read too many articles in the past year or two that offer a very different viewpoint. Granted, I live in Guayaquil which should explain in large part the differing opinion! I think I will reserve judgement and wait to see just how “good” this new airport is before I fly into it.

    • Bryan Haines Feb 16, 2013, 12:48 pm

      Agreed – we can’t really know what it will be until it actually starts operating. From what I can tell, if travelers are passing through it might work out better. But for travelers to Quito it seems like it will be less convenient.

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