AREA was founded in 1949 and began operations in 1951 when it took over routes formerly worked by Aero Transporte Ecuatoriano and Transandia Ecuatoriana, both of which had their base in Quito, Equador.
The fledgling airline had great plans and in March 1966 announced that intended buying – with a lease purchase arrangement – two ex-BOAC Comet 4s. In the event only one Comet was delivered. In March 1966 a Mk.4 Comet, formerly registered G-APDI, it found its way to AREA via the Mexican Airline, Mexicana. Being existing Comet operators, the Mexicans were familiar with the process of getting their aeroplane certified by the Federal Aviation Authority. Mexicana were the obvious choice to undertake the necessary modifications.
The Comet was re-registered HC-ALT and saw service in and around Equador until it was withdrawn in 1968. For a while the aircraft was stored at Miami and after a number of ‘nominal’ owners it was broken up in 1978.