Cerdá hopes that some countries in the region will reach the level of 2019 this year.
Aviation in the region has a promising future, but also a weakness, which is its airport infrastructure and access to it, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
At many airports in the region “we were already facing capacity constraints before the health crisis hit, and as we now see quite substantial growth, we need to ensure that infrastructure projects essential for aviation to thrive are developed as planned.” planned”, says IATA Regional Vice President for the Americas, Peter Cerdá.
The director expects that some countries in the region will reach the level of 2019 this year, although he recognizes that the recovery could be harmed or delayed by the price of fuel, as well as by the taxes and fees that some countries are introducing to tourism already the aviation.
Despite this, the recovery of the sector in Latin America is on the “good track” and it is important to take advantage of the summer to try to recover more traffic, because September and October are more complex months, he stresses.
It is now possible to travel from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, in most cases without any type of restriction or regulation, with the exception of Chile, which has not yet eliminated all of the covid-19 procedures.
However, interregional connectivity within Latin America and the Caribbean must be worked on even more, while the one with both North America and Europe is “fantastic”, he points out.
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How far can you go with the current infrastructure?
The recovery from covid is being very fast and what must be done now is to see how far it can go with the current infrastructure and what is needed to be able to grow, he indicates.
In his opinion, the concessionaire airport system cannot do it alone, but in collaboration with the airlines, because they are the ones that can indicate what the growth will be in the future.
For this reason, it advocates construction projects done with intelligence and transparency, that are good for the consumer and practical for the airlines.
In the case of Mexico, for example, a new airport has been built within the metropolitan area of Mexico City (Felipe Ángeles, at the Santa Lucía military base), which has great potential and the country’s government wants to encourage airlines to put more international flights.
But one aspect is the infrastructure and the airport system, and another, very critical, access to the airport, because in a city as large and complex as Mexico, with so much traffic, several road transport routes are required to get there and also a subway or train system.
The distance of 40 kilometers is not a problem because there are airports such as Munich (Germany), Seoul or Tokyo that are outside the city, but they have very efficient access roads and that is what the capital of Mexico does not have.
Something similar is happening in Peru, where they want to build an airport with two terminals, the new one will not have access to the subway and “the failure we see in many cases is that the concessionaire carries out its project and does not have the airlines or the municipalities themselves ”, he warns.
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Iberia and Air Europe
Regarding the purchase of Air Europa by Iberia, he commented that the important thing, jointly or separately, is that the two Spanish companies have “a very important and close commitment to Latin America to continue increasing connectivity and that is not going to change with fusion or without fusion”.
If the operation allows the Madrid airport to become stronger as a connection center and greater connectivity to other parts of the world, such as Asia or the Middle East, it is positive.
Today, many passengers from Latin America who have to travel to Africa, the Middle East or Asia do so via Doha, Dubai, Paris, Frankfurt or London.
And if in the future Spanish companies are seen growing towards Asia and the Middle East, that will also mark the progression of Latin America, because for many of the region’s points of origin towards Europe the most important entry is through Spain.
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