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Whats the Quito Airport Like?

Posted in: Ecuador Travel, Quito Ecuador

Update (Feb 2013): The new Quito airport is now open. The old airport in this post has been closed.

Last week was our first trip through the Quito airport (Mariscal Sucre Quito Airport UIO) for a national flights. It was surprisingly small and under-serviced. The Cuenca airport, although handling less flights, had more stores and restaurants. Quito had a grand total of one. Now, not to sound like a shopping addict / complainer, but because of scheduling, we landed at the airport 3 and a half hours before our flight. We were hoping to browse a little, maybe kill some time. But nope – there’s nothing to do there – no newspaper/magazine stand or anything. Well, they did have a good wireless connection and a place to buy a cold beer – guess not much reason to complain after all!

The airport is run by Quiport. You can check arrivals/departures on their site. They also have a section talking about the new airport being constructed 25km from the city center. Because its going to be at a lower altitude and have a longer runway, international flights will be able to travel at 90% capacity (compared to 60% currently) – allowing flights to travel without as many stopovers – saving time and money.

quito-airport quito-airport quito-airport quito-airport quito-airport

Quito’s lonely restaurant in the National Departures lounge.

quito-airport quito-airport quito-airport

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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.

13 comments… add one
  • Michael Waggoner Jul 10, 2012, 9:14 pm

    I am hearing the new Quito airport will open in October 2012…which means I will definitely avoid it for a year or so as they work out all the kinks.

    • Bryan Haines Jul 11, 2012, 7:59 am

      Yes, looks like Mitad del Mundo International Airport will open in October – and many are concerned about the lack of services there… I think w’ll try to fly through Guayaquil as well.

      • Michael Waggoner Sep 12, 2012, 10:22 am

        I see the new airport opening has been delayed until maybe Feb 2013….hmmm.
        But arriving Guayaquil at midnight and getting to a hotel could be a dangerous experience.

        • Bryan Haines Sep 12, 2012, 11:20 am

          Hi Michael – you can read more about the new Quito airport here. If you use a hotel shuttle, you shouldn’t need to worry about anything. Many of the hotels have 24 hour shuttles.

  • charles Dec 22, 2011, 2:46 pm

    Not to be disagreeable, but there is more than 1 shop/restaurant in the Quito airport. The last time I was there (April 2011), there was 1 sit-down restaurant and 2-3 kiosk type shops in the outer part of the airport, and 2 restaurants in the arrival/departure area. That is not a lot for an airport that serves a national capitol, no doubt about that. But you make it sound like the airport in Catamayo, that serves Loja/Vilcabamba travelers, which definitely has just the one restaurant. Even though Quito’s airport is small, considering that Quito is the national capitol, I have to say that the food I have eaten there has always been good, and the rest of the facility (including the restrooms) always is clean and appears well managed. A new and much larger airport is in the near future for Quito.

    Feliz Navidad y Feliz Nuevo Ano a Todos!

    • Bryan Haines Dec 22, 2011, 3:01 pm

      Hi Charles – you are correct that the airport has more than one restaurant. This post is about the National Departures lounge – which has just one. The international departure lounge, as you noted, does have a number of restaurants, including a Subway – which was a nice treat the last time we flew through. And the food is fine, no complaints about that.

      I haven’t flown into Loja, but I’ve heard that it really is small.

  • Karen Dec 16, 2011, 1:23 pm

    You can see that this airport was built out of a weird architectonic adaptation from what it used to be the old quito airport facilities which included both international and domestic flights attendance. And the thing is that since they seem not to being able to finish the current new airport (in a different location, this is already a very delayed project) and they seem to be overwhelmed by the increasing number of flights and people wanting to get transported by air, the only option they might seem to have is to re-adaptate old areas for new tasks trying to keep up with the demands of both parts flights and passengers. I must say that every time I travel within or outside the country there is always something that makes me angry and I see so many ways to recommend changes that might help with a better airport performance. For instance, the enormous amount of staff everywhere is absolutely unnecessary, specially during this economical crisis. For each of whatever task to be done at the airport there are like 4 or 5 persons on the same shift. You might think having more staff will ease the whole flying experience but I have noticed that it does not, particularly because most of the staff is just lacked on experienced whether due to bad training or simply boredom.

  • Lisa Oct 16, 2011, 7:01 pm

    Enjoy your time in Miami, and I look forward to your report when you get back.

    Take care.

  • Jamie Sep 13, 2011, 10:28 am

    Hi! Thanks for this blog. I can’t tell you how helpful it’s been as my family plans a trip out your way.

    Our trip from Denver to Cuenca this October (2011) takes us through the Quito airport, but only for a few nighttime hours. We land around 11:30pm and leave for Cuenca at 6 am – I’ve read horrible reviews of the hotel right across from the Quito airport, but it hardly seems worth it to drive to town and pay a hotel for about 4 hours of sleep. Would it be completely out of line and/or dangerous to doze at the airport somewhere, maybe in chairs next to our Cuenca departure gate?


    • Jamie Sep 13, 2011, 11:38 am

      Nevermind! Just when I was about to give up I found a better connection through that airport. Looking forward to seeing your neck of the woods soon.

  • Brian Waters Aug 14, 2011, 6:31 am

    Any idea when the new airport is being opened up?

    • Bryan Haines Aug 14, 2011, 8:04 am

      I’m not sure. It will be a few years but I couldn’t find a set date.

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