Uncertainty in the region has affected operations but airlines continue to work through the challenging situation.

By Patrick Appleton

Political instability in Latin America is causing significant problems for air travel, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.

Speaking to reporters at IATA’s Global Media Days in Geneva, Peter Cerda, IATA Regional Vice President, The Americas said governance issues throughout the Latin America region is a concern for airlines.

Air transport contributes roughly $1 trillion to the Americas—around $844 billion in North America and $156 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The latest figures from IATA show that although passenger demand increased in North America, the slowdown in regional cargo growth is more representative of the industry globally. 

We are seeing much more upheaval in the region, which is a deterrent for passengers to travel

October’s analysis shows that in Latin America both passenger and cargo markets suffered a decline in volumes, created in part by the region’s volatility.

“Politically, instability has had a significant impact on air travel,” said Cerda. “That is one of the concerns, that we are seeing much more upheaval in the region, which is a deterrent for passengers to travel.”

Infrastructure continues to dominate the aviation landscape across the Americas too, with Mexico City a key focus for IATA following the cancellation of the planned-Texcoco Airport.

Although issues remain in Mexico, and airports in Bogota and Lima, Cerda said the need for infrastructure development is “a good problem to have” as it is a product of an increase in demand.

He urged governments across Latin America to rethink their taxation strategies and warned that air transport cannot continue to be regarded as the “Golden Goose” to generate funding for state finances.

“When the industry is taxed we are taxed across the board. Everyone is affected—passengers and airlines alike,” said Cerda.

He added that ticket fraud is also a problem in the region, with organized crime benefiting from these activities in a number of countries including Colombia and Brazil.