Quite the Landing: Quito’s Mariscal Sucre Airport

Named after Antonio José de Sucre, Quito’s Mariscal Sucre airport is located in the heart of the city, which makes for quite the descent. For safety reasons, the airport is going to be moved an hour outside the city in just under a year’s time, so I wanted to devote a post to the stomach-lurching, wide-eyed feeling that landing there inspires.

About to begin our descent.

At 2800m above sea level, Mariscal Sucre is one of the highest airports in the world. And its location in the centre of a sprawling metropolis bordered by volcanoes makes for a difficult expansion plan. The new airport, which has many of Quito’s residents grumbling because of its distance, should open in late 2011.

Quito through the clouds on the approach.

Getting closer to Quito.

And closer….

And we’re just about sitting on some houses now.

Of course on the way out, I had to try and take a picture too. Quality not great as it was night and we were, obviously, moving – but imagine this connect the dot snapshot of lights multiplied fortyfold and spreading out in front of you:

And finally, the runway itself, nestled between the city. Photo is not mine, and no credit to the photographer could be found, but it illustrates how zany the airport is:

For more, see Craziest Airport Runways, or YouTube’s long list of Quito Flight Landings.


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