Air Travel in Latin America: Still A Luxury?

Apr 2 2014, 2:32am CDT | by

Air transport can no longer be considered a luxury in Latin America, aviation executives said in Santiago recently.

The region is twice the size of Europe, but has fewer roads and rail lines. Such a lack of transportation infrastructure has left LATAM airlines Chief Executive Enrique Cueto begging for changes, including airport improvement.

“People confuse air transport with luxury, but air transport is a necessity,” Cueto said at a conference organized by the International Air Transport Association during the FIDAE air show in Santiago. “We need to connect through airplanes, not through trains like in Europe, which is a smaller region,” Cueto said.  

In Brazil, to travel to a city like Manaus, which will host several World Cup matches in June, there are only two options: plane or boat. Flying from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo takes three to four hours, while a journey by boat up the Amazon to Manaus can last a week.

A scarcity of ground transportation is not the only obstacle. Some Latin American countries have raised passenger taxes for air travel, making it even more difficult to get around.

IATA Chief Executive Tony Tyler used South Korea and Singapore as examples of countries that have switched their views on air transport.

Some Latin American countries “are erecting physical and financial barriers to success, ignoring the lessons of places like South Korea, the Gulf or Singapore, which have placed aviation connectivity at the core of their development plans,” said Tyler at the FIDAE.

South Korea completed construction of the country’s largest airport, Incheon, in 2001 just before the 2002 World Cup. Incheon along with Singapore’s Changi Airport are often named among the best airports in the world for their immigration service and leisure amenities, among other things.

Airline executives are uncertain how long it will take authorities to improve airport infrastructure in Latin America, in line with some Asian countries. They do know the first step is to see flying as means of transportation for many and not just a wealthy few.

Source: Forbes Business


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

15 Million T-Mobile User Data Stolen on Experian Servers
15 Million T-Mobile User Data Stolen on Experian Servers
Credit monitoring firm Experian has been hacked. Affected are about 15 million T-Mobile Customers. T-Mobile CEO John Legere responds.
Narendra Modi Courts Silicon Valley Companies, Making India the New China
Narendra Modi Courts Silicon Valley Companies, Making India the New China
India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is courting the top technology companies in Silicon Valley. On Saturday, Mr. Modi visited Tesla and met Elon Musk. He also had dinner with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google...
How Can Solar Panels Be Made More Efficient?
How Can Solar Panels Be Made More Efficient?
The unique Kirigami technique can help capture more sunlight as it enables solar panel cells to track the sun throughout the day.
Amazon Christmas 2015 Rumor - Smallest Tablet Ever?
Amazon Christmas 2015 Rumor - Smallest Tablet Ever?
With Labor Day having come and gone, Christmas is starting to roll out into stores and onto the internet - and everyone is trying to get a head start on the competition. Amazon is one of the first to have rumors come...