Air taxi begins Guayaquil service in March; Storm floods parts of Cuenca; U.S. expat arrested in swindle scheme; Covid boosters offered to those over 18
Cuencana Airlines announced Friday that it will begin air taxi service between Cuenca and Guayaquil beginning in March. The flights, operating under charter status with the Ecuador Civil Aviation Directorate, will use three 14-passenger Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft.
Marcelo Carvallo, director of Cuenca’s Mariscal La Mar Airport, said that Cuencana will also offer charter flights to destinations in Peru and Colombia. He said the airline will have an office at the airport by the end of February. “The service is aimed primarily at business and tourist travelers who require air transportation between the cities on short notice,” he said. “It will not operate on a fixed schedule.”
In addition to Cuencana, Carvallo said that Galapagos Air will begin Cuenca service in April. The airline will offer flights to Quito, Guayaquil and Loja and plans direct service to the Galapagos Islands beginning in October. The airline will operate two Boeing B-737 aircraft.
Families, motorists rescued from Saturday flooding
Cuenca firefighters rescued four families from flooded homes Saturday night following intense thunderstorms that passed through the area. According to risk management officials, a number of properties in the Descanso community suffered extensive damage due to high water. Several motorists were also assisted when their vehicles were stranded in flood waters in the city’s east and southeast sectors.
Ecuador’s meteorology service said that heavy rains in the sierra will continue Monday and Tuesday before tapering off. The area from Quito to Riobamba has been the most affected, suffering severe flooding in several areas, the service said.
Foreign resident arrested in U.S. swindle scheme
A 62-year-old man identified as Ronald G. was arrested Saturday night at his Av. Ordóñez Lasso condominium, accused of operating a fraudulent multi-nation investment operation. The Ecuador National Police said the man was a U.S. citizen and a legal resident of Ecuador.
In a statement, the police said Ronald G. is accused of defrauding investors in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. out of “tens of millions of dollars” for fictitious investments. “We are cooperating with two U.S. law enforcement agencies who say that Ronald G. was the leader of a swindle operation that included employees in Tallahassee and Orlando, Florida, Glendale, California and Montreal, Canada,” it said. “Through fraudulent methods, the operation deducted money from the bank accounts and credit cards of more than 1,700 victims.”
National Police seized two Cuenca businesses, one of them a bar / restaurant, owned by Ronald G. who was transferred Sunday to Quito to await extradition to the U.S.
Covid boosters offered to those over 18
All Ecuador residents over the age of 18 are now eligible for Covid-19 booster shots beginning Monday, February 14, the Health Ministry announced Saturday. Previously, only those 40 and over were eligible. The boosters will be provided by Pfizer and AstraZeneca.