Chicago and Quito, Ecuador Airports Partner to Increase Business, Trade and Tourism

CHICAGO, November 6, 2013 - Officials from the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and the Municipality of the Metropolitan District of Quito (MDMQ) in Ecuador today formed a new partnership by signing a "Sister Airport" agreement. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed today in Quito signifies a commitment for the CDA, operator of O'Hare and Midway International Airports, and MDMQ, operator of Mariscal Sucre International Airport, to work collaboratively to strengthen air service, trade, tourism and cultural links between Chicago and Quito.

The MOU was signed by Dr. Augusto Barrera, Mayor of Quito; Freddy Égüez, General Manager, Metropolitan Public Company of Airport Services and Special Zones and Regimes; Eduardo Dousdebes, Secretary of Production, Productivity and Competitiveness, MDMQ and Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner, CDA.

"Today is a great day for Chicago and Quito. On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Aviation, we are very pleased to form a new partnership with our peers in Quito," said Commissioner Andolino. "We see a fantastic opportunity to create a new, mutually beneficial partnership to help grow business, trade and tourism between our cities."    

"This is a big step for geopolitical strategy and logistics for the city in order to connect destinations in less time," said Mayor Barrera. "A strategy focused on cargo and passengers identifying Chicago as a major tourist destination for Ecuadorians and vice versa. It is a truly transcendental issue for the future of the airport."

Officials exchange gifts at the signing ceremony in Quito on November 6, 2013. Pictured from left to right: Eduardo Dousdebes, Secretary of Production, Productivity and Competitiveness at the Municipality of the Metropolitan District of Quito; Freddy Égüez, General Manager of the Metropolitan Public Company of Airport Services and Special Zones and Regimes ("EMPSA"); Augusto Barrera Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Quito; Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation; and Borys Mejia, Trade Commissioner of Ecuador in Chicago. 

Several distinguished Ecuadorian officials attended the event. They included Fernando Guerrero López, Director General for Civil Aviationand Genaro Baldeón, Vice Minister of International Trade. Borys Mejia, Ecuador's Trade Commissioner in Chicago was also in attendance.

The MOU reflects the intention that the CDA and MDMQ will work together to develop mutually beneficial relationship to further the business, trade and economic growth for their respective cities and regions while fostering mutual cooperation in all aspects of the aviation industry.

Ecuador is one of the largest flower exporters in the world. With a new perishable cargo center set to open in 2014 at O'Hare, Chicago is seeking to increase its share of the perishable air cargo market. The on-airport center at O'Hare will take delivery of and process time-sensitive perishables such as flowers, food and medicine. The center will be the first of its kind in Chicago. It will vastly increase the speed, availability, variety and freshness of perishable goods delivered to the Chicago region. The center is anticipated to grow into an international exchange for perishable goods, including eventually bringing to Chicago new nonstop cargo traffic from South America and Europe.

Today's agreement is an important next step for Chicago and Quito to work together to support increased air service and cargo activity directly between O'Hare International Airport and Mariscal Sucre International Airport.

Several high-ranking officials from Ecuador have visited Chicago during the past year to discuss business and trade opportunities. They include Nathalie Cely, the Republic of Ecuador's Ambassador to the U.S.; Francisco Rivadeneira, Ecuador's Minister of International Trade; Santiago Leon, Coordinating Minister of Production, Employment and Competitiveness for Ecuador; and over a dozen trade representatives and business leaders from Ecuador.

Mariscal Sucre International Airport serves Quito, the capital of the Republic of Ecuador. The airport was commissioned in February 2013 and is the primary gateway for international air passenger and cargo traffic in Ecuador. Mariscal Sucre International is expected to handle more than five million travelers in its first full year of operation. It is a leading airport in Latin America, having one of the longest runways in the region as well as more than 500,000-square-feet of terminal and international cargo facilities.

O'Hare International Airport is the largest airport in the State of Illinois and the Midwest region, and one of the busiest airports in the world, handling nearly 67 million passengers in 2012. Midway International Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the U.S. and is the nation's premier airport for point-to-point domestic service. O'Hare and Midway handled more than 85 million passengers in 2012 and provide nonstop service to more than 200 cities worldwide. O'Hare International is ranked 7th in the United States and 20th in the world for air cargo volume, with more than 1.3 million tons of cargo handled in 2012.