QUITO, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno announced Friday the start of the reconstruction of the Eloy Alfaro International Airport in the northern city of Manta, which was damaged by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in 2016.
The work will be financed with a credit of 21 million U.S. dollars from the Export-Import Bank of China and a local contribution of 4.5 million dollars.
"...We are starting a project that has been waiting for a long time," the president said at a ceremony held at the airport in Manabi Province.
The reconstruction is expected to be completed in one year and a half and will benefit the local people and the local economy, said Moreno.
Ecuadorian Transport and Public Works Minister Aurelio Hidalgo said that the airport will be rebuilt by a consortium of two Chinese firms.
Once completed, it will have two runways that will be able to accommodate a Boeing 747-400, added the minister.
The earthquake on April 16, 2016 destroyed the airport facilities, including the control tower. Since then emergency repairs have been done and a temporary terminal was constructed so the airport operations could continue.
Manta is one of the most important cities for both tourism and business on Ecuador's Pacific coast.