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IATA touts collaboration among LatAm carriers

By Hpanchal on November 17, 2011

Officials from the International Air Transport Association have spoken out about the Latin American/Caribbean region, calling for increased collaboration among carriers in this market. In an address to the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association Airline Leaders Forum, IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler laid out his plan for success.

“Aviation in LatAm is a bright spot in the aviation world — the only region generating aggregate profits for three consecutive years,” Tyler said in a statement. Still, he said, industry shareholders and advocates must address certain challenges.

Two key areas of concern are safety and security, Tyler said. From January to October, the Latin American-Caribbean region’s hull loss rate quadrupled that of the rest of the world. Although he praised the strides regional carriers and authorities have made to improve security, including investing $100 billion over the past decade, Tyler encouraged them to take a risk-based approach to screening.

He also touted the importance of infrastructure improvements. “Looking around LatAm, it is clear that investment in runways and airport facilities has not kept pace with the region’s impressive traffic growth,” Tyler stated. “A number of Latin American governments are turning to privatization programs for their airport infrastructure, but privatization is not a panacea.”

To avoid further bottlenecks, he recommended that aviation authorities in this region proceed with caution to avoid “the mistakes of the unsuccessful privatizations of a decade ago.”

Tyler also singled out Brazil in his address to the forum, commenting on the nation’s airport concessions program and fuel-pricing policy. Categorical improvements should be made, he said, since aviation accounts for 1 percent of Brazil’s GDP.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President of Marketing Randy Tinseth concurs, saying that Brazil is well-positioned to become an aviation powerhouse. “Much of the growth in Latin America will take place in Brazil as the region’s largest aviation market,” Tinseth said in a statement.

“Brazil has seen a nearly 50-percent increase in the number of jet aircraft in the last 10 years, and there are no signs of slowing over the next 20 years due to a strong economy, growing middle class, and more access to air travel due to the introduction of the low-cost carrier model in the region,” Tinseth continued.

Competitor Airbus made similar projections. According to the aircraft manufacturer’s recent market forecast, Brazil will necessitate 701 new passenger aircraft valued at $82 billion by 2030. What’s more, an Airbus spokesman said, Brazil’s GDP will surge 144 percent within the next two decades, 20 percent higher than the regional average.

Brazil, and the LatAm aviation sector as a whole, are also leading the world in sustainability, Rafael Alonso, Airbus’ executive vice president for Latin American and the Caribbean, maintained. “The region is setting global standards by flying some of the youngest aircraft in the world average and advocating for the environment via aviation biofuel efforts that are both commercially viable and environmentally sustainable,” he said in a statement.

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