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Ecuador officials welcome adoption of “Open Skies” policy

Cabinet and Civil Aviation officials of Ecuador lauded the country’s adoption of an “Open Skies” policy.

They all agreed that the move holds the potential for greater connectivity in the country, job opportunities, an increase of employment and commercial traffic, tourism attraction and the opening of new markets.

Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Minister of Tourism Edgar Ponce de Leon, Minister of Transport Paul Granda, of Foreign Trade Pablo Campana and Director of the National Civil Aviation Carlos Alvarez all spoke of the benefits that citizens of the country would enjoy after the coming into force of the executive decree that was signed by President Lenin Moreno late last month.

The application of the decree would see the liberalization of air transportation except for coastal traffic.

Minister Espinosa said the impact of the decree include job creation, the increase of exports and the attraction of investments and tourists.

“These three topics are a priority in the national government’s policy,” she added.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Foreign Trade will be in charge of negotiating specific agreements with countries interested and we will obviously do it to defend national interests and our country’s priorities,” she added.

The official added that the ‘open skies’ policy essentially smoothens the traffic of merchandise, investments, human mobility of the migrant community and their families, in both directions, which benefits the country, investments, trade and tourism.

The next step would be the specific negotiation of agreements with countries that are interested, she said.

“We’ve already seen the interest of countries from Latin America, North America and even some Asian countries,” she disclosed.

Minister Ponce de Leon remarked that this indicates “a country opened to the world” and how it “invites the entire world to come to the country.” The result would be a potential surge in tourist arrivals.

“We expect all airplanes from different countries, from different airlines to land in our airports,” Ponce de Leon said during a press conference where he announced that tourism rates had risen by 14% in 2017 compared to the previous year.

He added that the North American ‘Spirit’ airline will begin operating in Ecuador in 2018 with daily flights. The German company ‘Condor’ will arrive in the country three times a week while Air Europa began operations in Quito yesterday.

For his part, the Minister of Transportation said that as part of the policy of incentives, President Moreno issued a decree to exempt airports administered by the Civil Aviation from 40% of fuel prices.

He also spoke of the benefits of updating air navigation systems all across the nation, while airports suited for international air traffic have adequate facilities with regards to migration, phytosanitary services and procedures needed to obtain operation certificates.

The Civil Aviation director remarked that Ecuador has an infrastructure of four international airports in Quito, Guayaquil, Manta and Latacunga with modern technology to receive foreign airplanes.

The Minister of Foreign Trade explained that the executive decree would lead to better air traffic and more, tourism and trade.

“This decree allows us to increase commercial flow with different countries,” he said.

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