ACI-LAC expresses its concern and calls on the governments of the region regarding the operational restrictions that limit the recovery of the aviation industry.
Panama, July 12, 2021 – Airports Council International Latin America and the Caribbean (ACI-LAC) expresses its concern and calls on the governments of the region regarding the operational restrictions that are currently effective in some countries, in order to seek solutions to continue promoting the recovery of the aviation industry.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, airports and airlines have successfully implemented all protocols and recommendations issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control in the United States (CDC) and Europe (ECDC) to remain safe and efficient. To date, air transport has proven not to be a vector of contagion and its main priority continues to be ensuring the safety and health of its passengers, workers and public in general.
However, operational restrictions in some countries in the region continue to limit the progressive recovery of the sector. Measures such as limiting the number of operations per hour or number of passengers per day reduce supply and hinder the recovery of air transportation. In addition, some countries have imposed limitations on the increase of air operations to ensure physical distance between passengers within airport terminals. Unfortunately, these measures are limiting air transport recovery despite the fact that the protocols and recommendations of the organizations mentioned above contemplate these operational realities.
We extend our concern and ask for support to the States of the region to eliminate measures such as border closures or the restriction of operations, mainly because there is no direct relationship between these measures and the evolution of the pandemic. The aviation industry is fundamental to our region’s economic and social development. The experience in our region and around the world shows that there is a strong desire to travel; therefore, it is essential to maintain connectivity between countries and domestically.
According to the IMF, the economic contraction in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020 was the most severe in the world, with a 7% drop. The longer these restrictions last, the more difficult economic recovery will be. Although many countries have made significant progress in the recovery of the sector during 2021, the recovery of the domestic market is estimated to occur between 2022 and 2023, while for the international market this recovery is estimated to be reached in 2024.
The recovery of the sector needs crucial support from governments, with initiatives such as the implementation of globally recognized digital and paper certificates for the submission of negative tests and vaccination guidelines, as well as the urgent harmonization of measures to boost the aviation industry.