JetBlue’s first flight between Quito and Fort Lauderdale
The first JetBlue aircraft landed Friday at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport in the airline’s first test run for service between Quito and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, schedule to begin Feb. 25.
The flight was intended to provide information and training to pilots and JetBlue ground personnel who will service the new flights. JetBlue said it encountered no problems in the test run.
Jet Blue, a U.S.-based discount airline, will operate one flight a day between Quito and Fort Lauderdale, using a an Airbus A320 with a capacity of 150 passengers. The airline flies to 40 cities in the U.S., the Caribbean and Latin America.
Government relaxes labor rules due to bad economy
Ecuador’s labor ministry said it will allow employers to hire workers on a temporary, fixed contract basis. The announcement came last week following a meeting between Labor Minister Leonardo Berrezueta and representatives of several Chambers of Commerce.
Under the current law, all employees must be full-time and receive full benefits. Berrezueta said the change was made as a response to rising unemployment, which he blamed on low oil prices and a strong U.S. dollar. “These are difficult times for the economy and we have to be flexible to help both workers and employers.”
Unemployment has spiked upward in recent months, from about 3.5% to above 5.5%, as thousands of government and industry workers have lost their jobs.
Under the relaxed rules, Berrezueta said that the contract employee must work at a specific task and receive Social Security benefits for time worked.
Food truck owners want to be legal in Quito
Meetings between city of Quito authorities and owners of food trucks are underway to legalize mobile food services. Currently, there are no laws governing the practice and the city says the trucks are operating illegally. The food trucks operate as mobile restaurants as well as a food delivery service.
Owners, several of whom have been fined for lack of licensing, say they are willing to play be the rules but that the city has been slow to adopt them. “We don’t mind paying the municipal fees and operating safely,” says food truck owner William Calderon. “We just need the city to tell us what we need to do.”
The city says it is writing new safety and equipment rules to cover the food trucks. Owners and city officials met Friday and plan to meet again within two weeks.