Ecuador vows to privatize airline to help rebuild from quake

QUITO, Ecuador – Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said he will partially privatize a state-run airline as damage from last month’s earthquake compounds hardships facing the oil-dependent economy.

In Tuesday’s annual address to lawmakers, Correa said he will either sell or allow investors to buy shares in Tame airline. Also on the auction block are a state-run cement maker, bank and power generator.

Downplaying speculation he may seek re-election next year, Correa said he’ll spend his final year in office helping Ecuador rebuild from the powerful, magnitude 7.8 quake, which left 663 dead and thousands homeless..

Correa said it will cost Ecuador upwards of $2 billion to rebuild.

Even before the quake the OPEC nation was facing a deep recession with the economy forecast to shrink 4.5 per cent this year.