|Manta Air Base
Eloy Alfaro International Airport
|IATA: MEC – ICAO: SEMT
||Public / Military
||Military of Ecuador
||48 ft / 15 m
||00°56′45″S 080°40′43″W / 0.94583°S 80.67861°W
Manta Air Base / Eloy Alfaro International Airport (IATA: MEC, ICAO: SEMT) is a combination civilian airport and military air base on the outskirts of Manta in the province of Manabí in western continental Ecuador. The airport, also known as Eloy Alfaro Air Base, is named in honor of Eloy Alfaro, a former president of Ecuador. It was inaugurated by the Ecuadorian Air Force on October 24, 1978.
The airport resides at an elevation of 48 feet (15 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 05/23 with an asphalt surface measuring 9,383 by 148 feet (2,860 × 45 m).
Airlines and destinations
- Aerogal Quito
- Icaro Air Quito
Former U.S. military presence
Up until July 2009 a portion of the airport was used by the Air Forces Southern air force component of the United States Southern Command for operations against illegal cocaine trafficking in northwestern South America. In 1999, the U.S. signed a ten-year agreement with then Ecuadorean President Jamil Mahuad that allowed the U.S. to station up 475 military personnel at Manta, rent-free. USAF AWACS E-3 and United States Navy P-3 Orion aircraft, supported by about 300 US military personnel, operated from the base to monitor air traffic in the area. The U.S. aircraft based at Manta fed surveillance information to the Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West. The aircraft at the base flew about 100 missions a month looking for drug-running boats departing Colombia. In 2007, the flights led to about 200 cocaine seizures, totaling about 230 tons. The flights accounted for about 60 percent of U.S. drug interdiction in the eastern Pacific.
President Rafael Correa ever since before being elected has stated that he would not renew the agreement that allowed the United States access to the base when it expires in November 2009, and commented that "We can negotiate with the U.S. about a base in Manta, if they let us put a military base in Miami..." . On March 19, 2008 the Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly voted to outlaw the installation of any foreign military bases in Ecuador. On July 26, 2008 Ecuador's Foreign Ministry formally notified the U.S. embassy that the U.S. lease on the base would not be renewed.
The U.S. attempted to persuade Ecuador that hosting the American forces at Manta is of benefit to the country, pointing to the $71 million the U.S. spent to upgrade the base to a modern airport and the aid donations that are flown into the base and distributed in the local communities. The U.S. base commander stated that the base pumps $6.5 million a year into the local economy and employs 150 local employees. Manta's mayor, Jorge Zambrano, supported keeping the Americans at Manta.
Admiral James Stavridis, chief of the U.S. Southern Command stated on April 21, 2008 that there were no plans to find a replacement drug-interdiction air base in South America if Ecuador declined to renew the lease of Manta. Instead, the U.S. military would use existing air bases in El Salvador, Curaçao, and Key West, Florida for drug-surveillance flights. Other bases in the continental mass have been posited as candidates for a replacement. The most credible claim of a country prone to host such a base is probably Colombia, whose base in Puerto Salgar recently entered a process of recertification by the US military.
On April 14, 2009 U.S. ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield announced that the base would be relocating from Manta to a location somewhere in Colombia. Said Brownfield, "Colombia and the U.S. are collaborating on efforts against illegal drugs. Part of this collaboration, without doubt, requires access to facilities between both countries." As of July 2009, the US was negotiating with Colombia to use Palanquero air base in Puerto Salgar as Manta's replacement.
The last U.S. military anti-narcotics surveillance mission from Manta was flown on July 17, 2009.
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00° 56' 45.88" S
080° 40' 43.71" W
||Joint (Civil and Military)
||000° W (01/06)
||MILITARY - CIVIL JOINT USE AIRPORT
||9383 x 148 feet
2860 x 45 meters
||Distance From Field
||Bearing From Navaid
||Jet A1, without icing nhibitor.
||OX, Indicates oxygen servicing when type of servicing is unknown
||Bird haz. Extreme elev INCR S and SE of fld .
||LOX OX NIT.
||A1, A1+ (Avbl 1300-2300Z, for FOL support only, Exxon Mobil Fuels, Exxon Mobil Ecuador +593-2-270-370, OT fee $50 per hr, min 3 hr, 1hr PN) (NC-100LL).
||PAPI Rwy 23 GS 2.8 .
||Ecuadorian Civ Avn Auth controllers are the prime ATC opr, U.S. liaison ATC supervisor is avbl in the twr 2 hr prior to any sched arr/1 hr prior to sched dep. Should the pilot encounter any difficulty in understanding the host nation controllers, he may req clarification by stating ''req to speak to the American ATC'' via VHF 122.7. Additionally, the same U.S. ATC liaison has exclusive UHF rdo com: 264.4/243.0 at all times.
||Rwy len of 9383' is determined fr the distance btn the thld lines for Rwy 05 andRwy 23. Rwy sfc before each thld are not included in rwy len and are to be usedonly for taxiing. OFFL BUS PPR req for all Ecuadorian tran flt on USSOUTHCOM counter drug msn flw these pro: 1. The Forward Operating Location (FOL) at Manta is rstd to acft in drct support of counter drug detection, monitoring and tracking ops only. 2. FOL drct support flt: Manta sked deployment and redeployment msnwill notify Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATFS) NLT 30 in advance via msg tfc and flw by fone call to JIATFS-335 POC is Mr. John Herndon (JIATFS-335 Air) DSN 483-5647 /5614/5756 or PLA: DIRJIATF//J3/J4//. 3. DV msn need to coord with USDAO in QUITO drct. Consult FCG. 4. Obtain PPR nr fr Manta FOL Deputy Cmdr. Req must call Manta FOL Deputy Cmdr at least 72 hr in advance at DSN 483-2200 extn 80902 C305-293-2200 extn 80902 or cell C011-593-99-858-953. NORDO proh. EloyAlfaro Intl is a non-radar environment. Do not descend blw the min sctr alt (MEAunless VMC can be maintained, or the acft is established on a publ instr apch).Req drct to an instr apch fix (IAF at or abv 4000 feet and execute the full apch pro).
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