Following World Travel Awards successful return to Ecuador for the Latin America Gala Ceremony 2018, Quiport chief executive Andrew O’Brian speaks to Breaking Travel News about the location’s victory at the event and the role the airport has played in the development of tourism in the city.
Breaking Travel News: Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, capital of Ecuador, has been recognised by the World Travel Awards as South America’s Leading Airport. How does it feel to have won?
Andrew O’Brian: To be honest it causes a range of feelings.
On one hand, we are very proud that our work has received the most important award in the travel industry, but on the other hand we know that this brings great responsibility to evolve and innovate.
Our activity is very dynamic and constantly changing so we cannot be complacent.
It is very important to keep growing and provide new and improved services to our passengers.
In fact, this is the vision given by our shareholders (Odinsa from Colombia, Grupo CCR from Brazil and Houston Airport System Development Corporation from USA).
This is the fifth year the airport has taken the prestigious honour.
BTN: As the awards are voted for by members of the public and the travel trade, are they useful in your marketing and advertising for the airport?
AB: Absolutely. The exposure we get during and after the awards ceremony is invaluable.
Airlines, our strategic partners in the industry, ask themselves what is happening at Quito Airport and this destination which are consistently ranked as leaders in South America?
This opens a lot of doors and generates interest.
Our airport has seen sustained growth in connectivity and an increase in passenger traffic; there is no doubt that the fact that we have won this award year after year has been one of the keys to this impressive performance.
BTN: Mariscal Sucre Airport expanded its international VIP lounge lately. How has that been received by guests? Are there any further developments planned?
AB: We can proudly say that Mariscal Sucre Airport has the best International VIP Lounge in Latin America.
I say this based on the responses to passenger satisfaction surveys that we carry out from time to time, social media feedback and ratings given by passengers in surveys by airlines such as KLM.
The International VIP Lounge was designed by Adriana Hoyos Design Studio, one of the most prestigious and well-known interior designers in the region, which allowed us to create an aesthetic and functional features to meet all the needs of our passengers who visit the lounge.
We are working with Adriana Hoyos Design Studio to renew the image of the Domestic VIP lounge and the Public Departures Hall at the airport.
BTN: Airports Council International showcased its Airport Excellence Programme in Quito. What can you tell us about that?
AB: Being a greenfield airport, from the start of the project we have cared about the potential environmental impacts and we have an environmental development plan to mitigate the impacts and protect native species in the area.
Under the plan, our most important measures include the wastewater treatment plant, waste management plan and the carbon footprint reduction program via our participation in the ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation program, supported by ICAO and the World Bank.
For this reason, when ACI proposed the APEX in Environment initiative, we offered to host the launch at our airport as we believe that we have a lot to offer, but we also wish to learn more about the best practices that are implemented at other airports.
We are very proud to be pioneers of APEX in Environment.
BTN: Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes recently became the latest carrier to add. What other new routes are on the horizon?
AOB: Since the airport started operating in 2013 we have seen a significant increase in connectivity, a trend which has continued.
Thanks to the highly professional work of our Route Development team, together with local and national authorities’ efforts to promote tourism, we are showing the world what Quito and Ecuador have to offer.
The results are very promising.
In addition to the start of operations by GOL on December 27th, with three weekly flights between Sao Paulo–Quito, Joon by Air France has announced the launch of direct flights between Paris–Quito as of May 2019, with three weekly flights served by Airbus 340-300 with a capacity of 270 seats.
Corporación Quiport is the concessionaire of Mariscal Sucre International Airport.
Find out more on the official website.