Following a Monday meeting with Ecuador’s General Aviation Directorate and the Minister of Transportation, Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera announced that runway repairs would be a two-step process.
Within weeks, the runway will be milled and a new surface will be applied to the area where planes touch down, he says. “This is an emergency procedure that will allow the airport to resume normal functions.”
The larger project of removing and replacing the current runway will be scheduled for 2017, Cabrera said. Civil aviation authorities insisted on replacing the entire runway, saying that the milling and partial resurfacing of the runway is only a temporary fix.
Although no schedule was given for the emergency work, Santiago Lopez, director of municipal companies, say it could be within days or weeks. The full replacement project cannot begin before July of 2017, he said, at the beginning of the next dry season.
In the past two weeks, most flights are operating on a normal schedule at the airport, according to Lopez. “The dry weather has finally arrived, which is good news for the airlines, the passengers, and the businesses that serve the airport,” he said.
The airlines and the tourism industry have been hard-hit by landing and take-off restrictions imposed by the civil aviation authority in May. The restrictions, which allow only dry weather operations, were applied following an accident in which a Tame Airlines jet skidded off a wet runway in late April.