Quito´s mayor Augusto Barrera recently announced that new Tababela´s Airport in Ecuador will be opened by February 20, 2013, instead of October 2012.
After 52 years of service, the current International Airport of Quito, Mariscal Sucre [IATA airport code: UIO], switches off its lights and closes permanently on Feb 20. The original airport was built in 1960 on 126 hectares of land, located in the north of Quito.
Due to its location in the middle of a city surrounded by mountains, the current airport cannot be expanded to accommodate any larger aircraft or an increase in air traffic.
Its operation poses higher risks, too; six serious accidents and several incidents have taken place in recent years. When the original airport was built back in 1960 it was on the north edge of Quito but during the last 50 years Quito has expanded northward, enveloping the airport.
The original airport capacity to service 3,660,000 passengers, while the new airport can serve roughly 5,000,000 in its first phase.