Ecuador air travel numbers rise but slowly; In Cuenca, flights are added but schedules fluctuate
According to Ecuador’s Civil Aviation Authority (DAC), a total of 28,146 passengers have taken to the air since June 1, when the country’s airports reopened. Of the total, 10,874 passengers traveled within the country to airports in Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Coca, Santa Rosa, Loja and Manta, most of them on Latam, Aeroregional and Avianca airlines.
In addition, DAC says 17,272 passengers flew to international destinations such as Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York, Houston, Santiago, Amsterdam and Madrid.
“We are resuming operations and passengers are returning but very slowly,” said a DAC spokesman. “The reason that international passengers exceed the number of local passengers is because many foreigners as well as some Ecuadorians who reside overseas were stranded in the country during the pandemic. There were also people in other countries waiting to return home to Ecuador. Although there were humanitarian flights, there were not enough seats for everyone who wanted to travel.”
In Cuenca, airport officials report that travel is picking up but is still less than 10 percent of pre-pandemic levels. “Currently, only Latam is operating flights to Quito and they are slowly adding flights,” the airport said in a statement. “We began with three flights a week and now have six although there are frequent schedule changes and some cancellations due to lack of passengers.”
The airport says that the Monday, Wednesday and Friday flights fly on schedule while those on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are subject to change.
The airport authority says that Aeroregional has asked to join Latam in the Cuenca market but must first pay a landing fee debt that dates to early 2019. The airline says it would fly to Loja as well as to Quito.
DAC says that 10,499 metric tons of cargo entered and departed the airports in Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca and Manta in June.
National airline passengers flying from Quito and Guayaquil must show negative results of a recent Covid-19 test or undergo a quick test at the airport before boarding flights. The requirement in Cuenca has been waived.
Arriving international passengers in Quito and Guayaquil must also show negative Covid results and undergo a 14-day quarantine. The requirement does not apply to those over 65 years of age.