There’s good news for Ecuador air travelers.
With the opening of a new four-lane highway, the drive time from Quito to the new Mariscal Sucre Airport at Tababela has been cut almost in half. A poll of drivers taking the new Collas-Tababela route say it took between 36 and 42 minutes to drive from the city to the airport entrance. Before, drivers said it took between one hour and 15 minutes and and an hour and a half, using the old routes.
When the airport opened in 2013, one of the chief complaints about its location was the drive time. During heavy traffic, the trip took as long as two hours.
In its first day of operation, the limited access Collas-Tababela route recorded about 300 vehicles per hour and transportation officials believe it will eventually handle about 5,000 per day. According to transportation officials, the highway opened a full year ahead of schedule.
Airport officials said that the new route eliminates one of the key objections to the new airport and should boost the number of travelers. “We believe that air passengers who were using other means of transportation will now begin using Mariscal Sucre for their air service,” said Julio Abarca, the airport police chief. “There can be no more objections to the airport.”
By some estimates, Mariscal Sucre had lost 10% to 15% of domestic air travelers to the recently expanded airport in Latacunga, south of Quito, due to a shorter drive time from the central and south areas of the city. One estimate reported that about 5% of international air travelers opted for Guayaquil due to the drive time.
Photo caption: The new Collas-Tababela route to the Quito airport; Photo credit: El Comercio.