A week after the announcement of Taca and Avianca’s merger, the Latin American airline industry is undergoing a process of consolidation in Cartagena Thursday.
In the forum held in the Caribbean city of Cartagena from Thursday to next Friday, airline leaders of Alta (Latin American Air Transport Association) will attend, along with 450 delegates from 30 countries and 35 CEOs of aviation authorities in the region.
The forum takes place in an unfavorable time for business, except for Colombia, where the number of passengers increased by 4.93 per cent between January and August compared with the same period last year, reports financial news source Portafolio. However, the number of tons of cargo transported fell by 18.77 per cent.
According to the Civil Aeronautics Administration, a total of 9.9 million passengers were carried by the airlines between January and August this year, which is an increase of half a million passengers compared with 2008.
In contrast, according to information from Alta, in Latin America the number of passengers dropped 0.4 per cent, from 80.2 million passengers between January and August 2008 to 79.9 million in the same period this year.
The Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Giovanni Bisignani, said that in nine months’ time there would be an increase in business class air traffic, a key source of revenue for airlines.
IATA has predicted that 2009 will see a loss of US$11 billion across the airline sector, and a reduction of 15 per cent of revenue as compared with 2008. However, in 2010, IATA said, the drop would approximate US$3.8 billion.
In Colombia, the increase in air passengers has been due to a price war between carriers, which is forcing companies to be more efficient in the face of their competition, but is also affecting revenue.
According to the Air Transport Association in Colombia (ATAC), between August 2008 and August 2009 there was an 18 per cent drop in the average fare per passenger across the domestic market, and an 8 per cent drop in the price of international flights.
According to the executive director of ATAC, Claudia Velasquez, “compared to what was experienced earlier this year, the aviation market has been recovering, and we will see the business strategies of airlines remain the same for the rest of 2009.”