State-run airport operator in last-stage negotiations to win deal to run Ecuador airport for 30 yrs

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QUITO, Ecuador, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) — The state-run South Korean airport operator said Friday it is in the last stage of negotiations to win a deal to run the airport in the Ecuadorian tourist city of Manta for 30 years.
A negotiation team of Korea Airports Corp. is currently in talks with the Ecuadorian government to seal the contract, estimated to be worth 540 billion won (US$456.8 million), according to officials.
If sealed as planned, it will mark South Korea’s first entry into the Central and South American market for airport operations.
Under the envisioned government-to-government deal, the South Korean firm will own all shares of Eloy Alfaro International Airport, and directly operate and manage its passenger terminal, runways and other facilities through 2051 via a local company to be established.
All the proceeds from the business will go to the South Korean firm, officials said.
The deal was first proposed by then South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon in 2019 during his visit to the country. Following discussion between the two countries’ relevant government agencies, former Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno approved an administrative order facilitating the deal in April, which was later endorsed by his successor President Guillermo Lasso.
The coastal city of Manta, located about 260 kilometers southwest of capital Quito, is known for tuna fishing as well as tourism.
The Korean firm said the city, located about 1,100 km away from the country’s Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO-recognized world heritage site, has ample potential for growth.
The company also said it will strive to further cement its foothold in the region through various other airport-related projects, including a deal to provide consulting services for the operation of seven airports in Colombia.
pbr@yna.co.kr
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