Throwback Thursday: "Without OPIC it is highly unlikely this project would have moved forward"
In 2013, the Mariscal Sucre International Airport opened outside of Quito, Ecuador, replacing what had been considered an operationally obsolete and relatively dangerous airport with one of Latin America’s most modern. The new airport went on to boost commerce and tourism to Ecuador and win more than 31 awards. Private lenders were initially reluctant to provide financing to move the project forward.
OPIC played a critical role in bringing other lenders to the project. “It was a complex project in a complex emerging market,” said Ramon Miro, President and CFO of HAS Development, an affiliate of the Houston Airport System, and a key partner in the concession company, Quiport, which won the bid. After OPIC committed $200 million in long-term financing, other lenders including the Inter-American Development Bank and Canada’s Economic Development Corporation joined the project.
In the four years since the airport has opened, it has brought multiple benefits to Ecuador and beyond. Five new passenger airlines and five new cargo airlines have begun serving the airport, supporting local and international businesses, and the longer runway has accommodated larger planes, enabling Ecuador to expand its export markets around the world. Local businesses in Ecuador as well as American companies operating in and near the airport have also benefited from the increased air traffic to the region.