Bogota‘s El Dorado airport must reduce flight delays, or risk losing its status as regional transit hub to Panama City or Lima, the president of the International Air Travel Association warned Thursday.
After signing an agreement with President Juan Manuel Santos last week to launch an official study of El Dorado, IATA President, Giovanni Bisignani, stated the government must make developments to the airport before the end of the year, including the construction of a third runway and the installation of satellite technology if it is to remain competitive in the domestic and international markets.
IATA Vice President, Peter Cerda, concurred that while the congestion problems at the airport are a “good problem”, in that they are indicative of an increased number of flights and travellers electing to use the airport, a lack of foresight in the development of the airport could see it fall behind other competing airports such as those of Panama and Lima, which have both already made the technological developments the IATA is now proposing for El Dorado.
In addition to the recommended construction of a third runway, the organization has suggested satellite navigation technology which would permit incoming flights to fly over mountains they currently have to circumnavigate, a change which Cerda estimates would save 12 minutes of flight per plane and could increase the airport’s overall efficiency by 30 or 40%.
Bisignani added that while the Bogota airport, which was recently voted among the worst worldwide for congestion, has a positive economic impact for Colombia as a whole, its effect on the air travel sector is significantly worse, citing losses of $50 million over the last decade.
In the face of the IATA declarations, Colombia’s Minister for Transport, German Cardona, pronounced that “there is a strong desire within the government to improve and expand the El Dorado airport, we have come up short and the time to act is now.”
- ‘Eldorado debe ampliarse ahora que hay espacio’: Iata (El Espectador)
- ‘Bogotá puede perder lugar de ‘hub’ regional de aerolíneas’ (Portafolio)