MONTREAL, Nov. 16, CMC – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments in the region to work with the industry to make infrastructure a priority in unlocking aviation’s economic and social benefits.
According to Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, airlines are faced with many challenges in the Caribbean.
“Operational costs are high. Taxes are significant. In addition, regulations are burdensome and often not aligned to global standards. We need a strong partnership with governments to focus on unlocking aviation’s benefits to tackle these issues effectively…”
He also called on Caribbean and Latin American governments to address two critical infrastructure issues – the capacity for growth in keeping with demand and infrastructure privitisation.
“The key is consultation. Airlines, governments and airport operators need to be partners in building successful cost-efficient infrastructure in line with market realities on cost and capacity.”
de Juniac, in an address at the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association’s leadership forum in Mexico City, also sounded a cautionary note on airport privatization.
“Harnessing the efficiencies of private enterprise to improve infrastructure needs iron-clad regulation to protect the users from out-of-control monopolies,” said de Juniac, who also urged governments to award infrastructure concessions with a priority on finding partners aligned with the long-term national interest of realizing the benefits of growing connectivity—not the short-term gain of those coming with the highest bid.
According to IATA, passenger demand across the region is expected to more than double from 298 million in 2015 to 658 million in 2035.
The association says if that demand is met, the number of jobs supported by aviation in the region will grow from 5.4 million to 8.4 million over the same period.
“Aviation is the business of freedom. It helps people to trade, to discover and to better their lives. A successful aviation industry generates prosperity. Despite protectionist rhetoric – which we must be robust in countering, economies need air connectivity to grow and integrate with world markets,” de Juniac said.