On the airport side of the ACE accolades, some of the biggest upsets came in the Medium- and Small-sized facilities, where only one out of the six award winners in 2017 – São Paulo’s Viracopos-Campinas (VCP) – repeated in one of the top-three award levels this year. VCP, which earned a Platinum Award in 2017’s contest, improved to the Diamond Award level in 2018, scoring 115 overall points.
Beyond VCP’s continued excellence, the big surprises all came from North and South America, and most of them didn’t even reach Certificate status in 2017. Ecuador made a particularly strong showing, as Quito International (UIO), a.k.a. Mariscal Sucre International Airport, took not only the Diamond Award for the Medium-sized airports (400,000 to 999,999 tonnes) with the highest point total in the 2018 ACE Awards (124), but also the overall award for the top handler of Specialty Cargo (see sidebar). In addition, just 400 kilometers away, relatively obscure Guayaquil International Airport (GYE), recently renamed Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport, scored an impressive 105 points and won the Gold Award for the Small Airports category (up to 399,999 tonnes).
Andrew O’Brian, president and director general of Quiport, which operates UIO, credited the achievements of the hub – known mostly as a gateway for perishable goods to North American and Asian markets – to the airport’s “profound knowledge of the activity, efforts and great passion for our work,” which has been growing steadily since it replaced an outdated airport in Quito five years ago.
The remaining award winners are all located in North America: Oakland International (OAK), won the Platinum Award and Toronto Pearson International (YYZ) won the Gold Award in the Medium category. Also Orlando International (MCO), won the Platinum Award for the Small category.
According to OAK, a major West Coast hub for FedEx and UPS, the airport ranked 14th in the U.S. in terms of cargo tonnage in 2017, which rose 6 percent compared to 2016. Hopes remain high for 2018 at OAK, which saw a robust 21 percent year-over-year increase in cargo demand this January. “2018 is shaping up to be a strong year for the integrated carriers as online shopping continues to gain market share in retail sales,” OAK said in a statement.