On Monday, Cuenca’s Mariscal La Mar Airport will welcome its first flights to and from Quito since March but airport management advises passengers there will be major changes due to the coronavirus health emergency. One change is a reduction in number of flights: instead of the 40 or more that flew in early March, only three are scheduled for the week of June 15.
Airport director Juan Pablo Vega said that only one airline would offer service during the first week of operation, but did not specify whether it would be Latam or AeroRegional.
Among the new health protocols are a passenger-only restriction to the airport lobby, social distancing from the ticket counter to aircraft seating, temperature checks and the requirement that all passengers wear face masks. “Flying will be a very different experience than it was prior to Covid-19,” Vega. “Our personnel have been instructed to maintain the new rules and answer questions from passengers as needed.” He said that new signage has been placed around the airport to maintain an orderly flow.
According to Vega, the first week’s passenger flights will operate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “The number of flights will be analyzed weekly by the airlines and will increase based on demand. We have to be realistic about the resumption of service and understand it could be many months, possibly a year or two, before we return to a pre-Covid schedule. This is a problem faced by air travel around the world, not just in Cuenca and Ecuador.
Vega added that the airport has not been closed during the Covid quarantine, handling more than 50 humanitarian passenger flights as well as daily cargo flights.