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Air traffic in Latin America may register a 50% contraction by the end 2020

Rafael Echevarne, general director of the International Council of Airports of Latin America and the Caribbean (ACI-LAC), says the industry returned to 2007 levels in the region

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  • Air transport in Latin America was growing between 3% and 4% year on year up until mid-March;
  • Airports in Latin America may lose up to $ 5 billion this year.

In January and February 2020, air transport in Latin America was growing between 3% and 4% year on year, but then came the pandemic and the first semester closed with a 51% decline in traffic compared to the same period last year. The figures were given by Rafael Echevarne, general director of the International Council of Airports of Latin America and the Caribbean (ACI-LAC), during an interview with La Republica.

According to him, the contraction will remain at the same level during the second semester – a stretch of time wholly affected by the crisis, albeit in a gradually lighter way. In the first semester, up until mid-March, air travel in Latin America had not yet been hit.

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“We have lost 170 million passengers in the region in the first semester. For the second half of the year, we believe that the fall will remain at a minimum of 50%, causing the industry to fall back to the levels it had in 2007”, said Echevarne. He estimates that the recovery will take four years to regain lost ground, and up to 10 years to return to the growth levels seen before the crisis.

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Echevarne calls attention to the loss of revenues in his industry – air terminals in the region may lose $5 billion in 2020. “It would be very good if the airlines could be helped, but also the airports, because they are going through a very difficult time.”