Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chicago and Quito, Ecuador Sign Historic Sister Airport Agreement to Increase Business, Trade and Tourism

The City of Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), the Municipality of the Metropolitan District of Quito, Ecuador (MMDQ), and the Metropolitan Public Company of Airport Services and Special Zones and Regimes (EPMSA) in Quito yesterday signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding that links Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport in a "Sister Airport" agreement. The agreement was signed in Quito by CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino; Dr. Augusto Barrera, Mayor of Quito; Eduardo Dousdebes, Secretary of MMDQ and Freddy Eguez Rivera, General Manager of EPMSA. 

"Today, we are taking the next step toward working together to promote trade, business, tourism and cultural relations between Chicago and Quito," said Commissioner Andolino. "Through our Sister Airport partnership, we will share lessons learned and best practices as we grow our operations for the future. We will establish working groups to exchange information in the areas of operations, maintenance and sustainability. The groups will also explore aviation-based business and commercial development opportunities and initiatives regarding marketing, tourism and cultural relations." 

In the near future, representatives from Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport will visit O'Hare to learn more about its operations and the new capabilities resulting from its expansion. The two airports will also discuss ways they can co-promote, in the airports, tourism and business between the two countries. 

Mayor Barrera also expressed his gratification with the new agreement. "This is a big step for geopolitical strategy and logistics for the city in order to connect destinations in less time.  It is a strategy focused on cargo and passengers, and identifies Chicago as a major tourist destination for Ecuadorians and vice versa. It is a truly transcendental issue for the future of our airport." 

Commissioner Andolino explained why this agreement serves the interests of both countries. "The Chicago market is one the most well-connected in the world, but we believe we can do more to reach more international destinations. There also is a great market in Chicago and the Midwest for the perishable goods grown and produced in Ecuador." 

"Ecuador also views O'Hare as an important hub linking Ecuador to other major markets around the globe," said Borys Mejia, Trade Commissioner for Ecuador in Chicago. "Our Sister Airport relationship is a natural outcome of the very positive discussions we have been having for some time. This relationship will benefit not only the two cities, but their surrounding regions and the two countries as a whole." 

O'Hare's current multi-billion dollar expansion program will greatly increase capacity for international air travel and transport to and from Chicago. Last week, O'Hare broke ground on a new state-of-the-art cargo facility. When complete, the center will give O'Hare the ability to nearly double its cargo operations. 

The Chicago Perishable Center at O'Hare, a new hub for international transport of perishable goods to and from Chicago, which will open in 2014, also is a key impetus for the agreement. The perishable center, the first of its kind in Chicago, will provide a direct air destination for the Ecuadorian produce, fish and floral products coming to the Midwest market.

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