IATA wants Latin America to discuss the resumption of flights with the industry.

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) asked Latin American and Caribbean governments on Thursday to sit down and discuss with the airline industry steps to revive aviation, warning that 4.1 million jobs and $98 billion dollars are at stake.

IATA Vice President for the Americas, Peter Cerdá, said during a conference call that the diversity of measures that the countries of the region are adopting, and the different speeds with which they are undertaking the revival of the sector, “make it more difficult” economic recovery.

According to Cerdá, while some governments are keeping their borders closed, others are slowly beginning to lift restrictions.

“The concern is that many of the countries with the highest restrictions seem to have contradictory messages about reopening,” Cerdá said.

“We understand that the priority is health and that five of the ten countries most affected by the pandemic at this time are in our region. But we need governments to engage in dialogue with the industry to define a clear path for the resumption of operations,” the IATA official added.

The international organization forecasts that the total recovery of international traffic in the region will only occur in 2024, while that of domestic traffic will occur a year earlier, in 2023, and that this year the decrease in the number of passengers will be 55%.

“More than 4.1 million jobs and 98 billion dollars of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that supports aviation, including tourism, are at risk,” he explained.

By country, Cerdá said that in Argentina “there is still uncertainty” about the date for the resumption of regular operations in the sector, which in principle should occur on September 1.

“Recent comments from the government point to a possible delay in the restart date,” Cerdá said, adding that IATA is having “a positive dialogue” with the Argentine authorities and hopes to confirm the restart date in the next few days.

Cerdá also welcomed the Argentine authorities’ proposal to promote domestic tourism by reimbursing 50 % of tourism-related expenses.

In Colombia “we have experienced a week of confusion,” Cerdá said. But he added that IATA is confident the country’s authorities will soon formalize the resumption of domestic flights with the return of operations from 15 of the country’s airports.

“We continue to work with the government to restart international flights in the short term,” he added.

Cerdá also described the situation in Peru as confusing after the Transport Minister declared this week that “international flights will not be allowed until 2021”.

“We have requested urgent clarification. But closing the borders for a year will not allow the country’s socio-economic recovery. Tomorrow the sector will meet with the Transport Minister to discuss the situation”, revealed Cerdá.

IATA considered positive the situation in Paraguay, where although air operations are not allowed, the country has prepared financial aid measures for airlines with the exemption of payment of charges for traffic control, operations, parking and ground assistance.

With respect to Panama, Sardinia approved the resumption of air services, albeit on a limited basis, and the authorization for Tocumen airport to be used for flight-to-flight connections. But he warned that it will take time before the country can once again play its role as a connection point between North and South America.

Cerdá stressed that Costa Rica has expanded the number of nations from which the Central American country can be traveled, including specific U.S. states.
IATA also considered positive the changes about the quarantine in Ecuador where now, the confirmation of a negative result in the PCR tests carried out at the arrival to the country avoids the need to stay in isolation for two weeks.

The air organization’s director ended by saying that the sector cannot survive without operations for another five months and that what airlines need in the region are “governments that want to work with the sector so that aviation can play its role in rebuilding the economy.

By EFE – Infobae