Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has greenlighted a contract with Argentina's Corporación América (CASA) to build and operate the US$23mn Baltra Island airport terminal on the Galápagos islands.
The terminal will be built at the current location of the island's Seymour airport, the transport and public works ministry (MTOP) said in a release.
MTOP has wrapped up technical and environmental studies for the project, which falls under a broader government initiative to modernize the country's airports.
The airport's infrastructure and operating procedure will be subject to strict environmental standards. Natural lighting and ventilation will be installed, and renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic panels will supply 25% of power at the passenger terminal.
The airport will have capacity to serve 500,000 passengers annually.
The UN educational, scientific and cultural organization (Unesco) recognized the Galápagos islands as a world heritage site in 1978, and as a biosphere reserve in 1985, which was later extended to include a marine reserve in 2001.