Location: Guayaquil International Airport, Ecuador
Important developments: Expansion of the existing terminal to 7mppa from 4.5mppa, includes new gates, concessions and passenger facilities.
Scheduled completion date: Summer 2014
Principal companies involved: Airport Authority of Guayaquil (AAG), TAGSA (part of the Corporación América) and Ekron.
Total investment: $15 million
Ecuador’s second busiest gateway Guayaquil International Airport has been expanded to meet the challenges of rising demand.
The upgrades to the Domestic Terminal were completed on July 25, and has seen the floor space increased from 50,000sqm to 57,000sqm, making it the biggest airport terminal footprint in the country, while raising capacity to 7mppa from 4.5mppa.
Work was commenced in September 2013, and the heart of the expansion of the terminal, which was only built in 2006, was to improve passenger services, and it was inaugurated on July 31.
Terminal projects have seen three extra aircraft boarding gates installed, an improved baggage system fitted, increased security area, the number of restrooms doubled, and a new atrium complete with a pond, fish and plants.
Other improvements have seen new seating fitted with the latest USB and wall charges, the main VIP lounge doubled in size, two airline specific VIP lounges, and more concessions, with retail outlets increased from two to five and two new F&B outlets.
Employee services have also been enhanced with office spaces for training rooms, staff service areas, while a new airport operations ramp control cabin has been built.
Owner, Airport Authority of Guayaquil (AAG), has worked with the airport’s concessionaire TAGSA, part of Corporación América, and building work was carried out by Ekron, who also built the terminal eight years ago.
Last year, the gateway that serves the country’s most populous city, handled 4mppa, and the project means it is now fully equipped to handle expected future traffic growth.
Mark Räde, airside supervisor of AAG, says the upgrade was brought forward from 2019, due to increasing demand and other factors.
“We have seen an increase in passenger traffic to the area, and are taking advantage of the expansion to improve the passenger flow and as it was previously a bit tight.
“The main reason we agreed to push forward from 2019 was because we have seen a lot of airport closure because of weather at Quito Airport, so have had an increased number of people coming into the hold room and are taking more traffic,” Räde enthuses.
Guayaquil is the gateway for flights to the Galapagos Islands, and is set for sustained growth over the coming year, as tourism to Ecuador booms, and last year international traffic surged by 16%.
Räde explains the design of the upgrades is the same adopted when the terminal was built in 2006: “It is modern yet, simple and flows are very straight forward, to provide the best services for passengers as possible, and we are always trying to improve with our stakeholders the queues and services.
“The terminal will now have a very wide open feeling with big windows so travellers can see over the aircraft apron, and passengers will have much more room and feel more comfortable.”
Traffic at Guayaquil International is split into two sections, with an International Terminal area and a Domestic Terminal area, and work on the international sections is in the pipeline.
“We will have to look at the International Terminal and are going to add things like children play zones and we want people to stay longer in the terminal and are looking at a lot of things to improve passenger services,” Räde explains.
Despite the expansion, the terminal could one day be redundant, as the long-term vision of AAG for Guayaquil International Airport, is to move to a new state-of-the-art $800 million airport on a nearby 2,020 hectare site, which the operator says would become the ‘gateway of Ecuador’.
A master plan is now being developed for a ‘Future Airport’ that is being earmarked for construction by 2024 with a capacity of 16mppa.
Räde adds: “This is in the early stages, but we are looking at a site for unlimited growth in the future where passenger capacity will be unrestricted and have space for three runways.
“We expect to start with two runways from 2024, which we believe we can go to until 2054, and then further expand it, and want Guayaquil to be the main hub in Ecuador.”