The city of Manta lost contact via air with the rest of the country after the 7.8° magnitude earthquake of April 16 that hit Ecuador and damaged the Manta’s Eloy Alfaro Airport passenger terminal leaving it unable to be used for commercial flights. It was vitally important to recover that connection in order to face the emergency in the country’s North-Center Coastal region that was devastated by the earthquake and, especially, to allow the city to begin normalizing its activities.
Flights were resumed thanks to an emergency passenger terminal built by Corporación Quiport – the Mariscal Sucre Airport concessionaire – in coordination with the Civil Aviation Directorate (“DGAC”) and Avianca’s support as a means to help the country to overcome the emergency.
Quiport and the Mariscal Sucre Airport have been providing their valuable cooperation during the emergency by coordinating flights carrying aid, rescue workers, doctors and volunteers from Quito to the areas hit by the earthquake and also coordinating flights coming from abroad with donations. “However, we wished to help even more efficiently, and that is why we identified that our contribution would be the rehabilitation of the Eloy Alfaro Airport so that it could once again handle regular commercial flights as soon as possible and, thus, resume that city’s connection with the rest of the country. We felt, as airport professionals, that this was our duty”, Andrew O’Brian, CEO of Corporación Quiport explained.
A team of Quiport engineers and technicians traveled to Manta to perform an initial evaluation to implement the project. Once the requirements were determined, a plan was submitted to the DGAC and approved by the authority.
Nine Quiport technicians traveled to Manta on April 22 to build the project during one single weekend. The first step was to bring electric power as well as a communications system to the site. Then the tents that would house the terminal areas were set up and the same equipment - that fortunately was intact - from the damaged terminal was used.
The emergency terminal is now located on a platform adjacent to the building that was affected by the earthquake. It offers basic infrastructure for passenger arrivals and departures, airlines check-in facilities, screening controls, and boarding and baggage delivery areas.
Once the emergency terminal was ready, it was delivered to the DGAC on April 24 so that it could start operating immediately. Adriano Zambrano, the DGAC Airport Administrator in Manta, was pleased with the result and highlighted the importance for Manta to have regular commercial flights once again.
Manta’s emergency terminal began to operate on Monday, April 25, until a medium and long term solution can be designed in order to recover the infrastructure affected by the earthquake – one of the most devastating in Ecuador’s recent history.