Colombia will invest $197 million in its clogged air infrastructure, according to the director of the country’s civil aviation authority Aerocivil, reported Colombian daily El Pais Tuesday.
The move was announced a day after a three-week strike by air-traffic controllers, which had caused flight cancellations and delays across the country, was brought to an end.
Aerocivil Director Santiago Castro said, “Now we have [$197 million] for 2012, for infrastructure, technology, radar and communications. This is an amount unprecedented in this industry, and is part of an ongoing air navigation plan worth over a billion dollars over a period of 30 years.”
On the subject of the recent industrial dispute, Castro suggested that neither side had won an outright victory. While he accepted that the demand for the employment of more air-traffic controllers was “right” and had been met, he stated “wage demands were exaggerated.” Castro pointed to the fact that agreement on wages was based around increased revenue bonuses, not simply a wage hike.
Colombia’s air travel has grown with an average of 8% per year over the past five years. The growth has caused an increased pressure on the airports’ structure and airport personnel.