CUENCA DIGESTFirst aircraft arrives for LAC, new Cuenca airline

Apr 22, 2012

The first aircraft for Línea Aire de Cuenca, Cuenca´s new airline, has arrived in Ecuador, although a start date for flights to Quito and Guayaquil remains to be established. The airlines, call letters LAC, said it has begun hiring airport staff and hopes to be flying sometime in May.

A Canadian-made Bombardier CRJ700, with capacity for 70 passengers, arrived in Quito from Miami, April 21, and will be in Cuenca, according to owners of the airline, by May 1.

According to Luis Astudillo, LAC general manager, LAC has also purchased two Embraer 145Ss, with capacity of 50, and hopes to add them to the fleet by mid-summer.

INVESTMENT INSTITUTE EARMARKS MORE MONEY FOR CUENCA´S NEW STREETCAR SYSTEM

Ecuador's National Institute of Preinvestment, or INP, plans to invest about $80 million between 2012 and 2014 for six strategic sectors, including electricity, transportation and telecommunications.

INP Executive Director Santiago Medina said in an interview that one of the priority sectors is transportation, where $24 million is earmarked for studies on projects including a metro for Quito and a streetcar for Cuenca, where construction is set to begin this year.

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The metro for Quito could cost about $1.4 billion, while the streetcar for Cuenca could cost $230 million.

Medina also said that next month the INP plans to sign a contract with Spain's Compania General de Ingenieria y Sondeos to do studies on the $160 million Chalpatan geothermal project.

CORREA SAYS CHINA MAY PROVIDE $13 BILLON FOR NEW REFINERY NEAR MANTA

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said Saturday China could fully finance the $13 billion Refineria del Pacifico, a joint project between Ecuador and Venezuela's state oil companies

"China is very interested in financing practically all," Correa said during his weekly media address.

According to Correa, China has a surplus in liquidity but a shortage in oil for its consumption, while Ecuador has surplus in oil but needs liquidity, so the operation is attractive for both parties. Correa didn't provide any detail. 

Refineria del Pacifico, a refining and petrochemical complex, will be 51% owned by Ecuador's state-run Petroecuador and 49% owned by Venezuela's state-run Petroleos de Venezuela, or PdVSA.

Correa also said his Minister Coordinator of Strategic Sectors, Jorge Glas, has traveled to China to negotiate the financing.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPS BUT UNDEREMPLOYMENT REMAINS HIGH

Ecuador's unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in the first quarter from 7.04% in the same period of last year, the National Statistics and Census Institute, or Inec, said Tuesday.

Underemployment, the percentage of Ecuadoreans employed in the informal sector or who work on an occasional basis, declined to 43.9% from 50%.

Ecuador's economically active population is estimated at about 4.64 million.

Thanks to high oil prices and loans from China, Ecuador President Rafael Correa has increased public investment to boost economic growth and promote production in order to address the unemployment and underemployment.In 2011, Ecuador's economy grew 7.78%. Given an uncertain global economic outlook this year, the government expects growth of 5.35% for this year.

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