CUENCA DIGESTAfter months of delays, AirCuenca is finally airborne

Aug 16, 2010

AirCuenca finally took to the skies August 2, four months behind schedule. According to a company spokesperson, the delay was due to an unexpectedly lengthy approval process by Ecuador’s civil aviation authority.

The new airline flies between Cuenca, Quito and Guayaquil and says it will expand service once it receives new aircraft from France by the end of the year. The airline is offering an introductory roundtrip fare of $85 between Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca.

According to Marco Avila, director of the Cuenca Aviation Corporation, 60% of travel in and out of Cuenca is by business travelers. The remaining 40% of flyers are tourists and those flying for family reasons. Avila says his office is developing a new survey to refine its numbers.

The AirCuenca office is located at the Mariscal La Mar airport on Av. Espana.

PROPOSAL FOR NEW GAS TAX IN QUITO STIRS PROTESTS

Quito’s Muncipal Transportation Committee is proposing a tax on gasoline to help traffic improvements in the city. The 5% tax on regular gasoline and a 10% tax on high octane  would raise an estimated $573 million a year, according the committee.

The proposal has sparked protests from city business leaders who say the tax would only be passed on to consumers. Political leaders in Cuenca and Guayaquil also complained, claiming that a tax in Quito would quickly be applied in other cities. “Once the barn door is opened for new taxes, there will be no end to it,” says former Guayaquil city councilman Eduardo Perez. “This is not something that cities should do on their own. They need to work with the federal government.”

The cost of gasoline is subsidized by the Ecuadorian government, with prices for a gallon of regular gasoline running 30% to 50% less than in the U.S. and Canada and 75% less than in Great Britain. The government also subsidizes propane gas at a rate 15% to 20% of the international market price.

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