Officials in Cuenca and Manta as well as Ecuador’s tourism ministry are in discussions with two airlines about establishing flights between the two cities. Citing a study by the Universidad Laica Eloy Alfaro in Manta, they say that current demand justifies one or two scheduled flights a week with a “growing upside.”
“Manta and Cuenca and rapidly growing cities and with populations of 300,000 and 600,000 respectively, the demand for travel between them is also growing,” says Ecuador Minister of Tourism Rosi Prado. “We are presenting the results of the Alfaro University study to the airlines and hope to make an announcement soon.”
Although Prado did not mention the airlines that have been contacted, Patricio Miller, director of Cuenca’s Mariscal La Mar Airport, said one of them is LatAm. LatAm currently operates flights between Cuenca and Quito.
According to Miller, he and local business leaders are also in talks with three airlines about reestablishing flights between one or two cities in Peru. “In the 1980s and 1990s, there were non-stop flights connecting Cuenca to Lima, Cusco and Chiclayo, which were very important in building tourism in Cuenca. The flights were very popular and flew at 90 percent capacity,” he said. “The flights stopped during the 1999 financial crisis and we know there is more demand today and are working to have them reestablished.”