Associations emphasise ‘substantial risk’ following Argentina air suspension

By Andrew Pentol |

Dufry-EZEAirports Council International — Latin America, the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) and the International Airport Transport Association have made an urgent call to Argentine authorities following the decision to suspend air traffic in the country until 1 September 2020.

The country’s borders have been closed to non-residents since March. On Monday (27 April), the National Civil Aviation Administration issued a decree banning ticket sales for commercial flights to, from or within Argentina.

According to a statement on the ALTA website, the aforementioned associations emphasised the “imminent and substantial risk’ associated with the decision to suspend air travel in the country.

A joint statement read: “This decision directly affects the entire Argentinian and regional airline industry, including domestic and international airlines, business, commerce, tourism and related sectors.

“The survival risk facing airlines as a result of the resolution puts thousands of jobs at risk. It also threatens Argentina’s connectivity with the world and internal connectivity, which is vital for transporting essential supplies and economic and social wellbeing.”

FINANCIAL STRAIN

In the meantime, Argentinian airports must somehow find the financial resources to continue operating in order to service cargo and humanitarian flights. Commercial passenger flights normally generate 80% of revenue, so their financial capacity to maintain operations will be stretched to the limit.

Dufry-EZE-4

The Argentinian air traffic ban will impact airports, retailers such as Dufry Group at Ezeiza International Airport (pictured) and brands.

The associations added: “We understand the complex situation our rulers are going through. Their top priority is and will be to guarantee the health and safety of the population in the face of adversity. We also understand the principle of sovereignty that commands each government.

“It is our responsibility, however, to express deep concern with the resolution in question, which was not shared or agreed with the industry.

“Furthermore, the resolution goes against the efforts of all industry players, who are looking to propose and implement a plan for the reactivation of commercial activities.”

The statement concluded: “Argentina needs air transportation to facilitate the timely operation of numerous economic activities. The travel and tourism sector alone contributes 10% to the nation’s GDP and generates 9.4% of jobs (employment for about two million people) in the country, according to studies by the World Travel and Tourism Council. It is a fundamental sector in terms of the population’s wellbeing.

“Each job in aviation generates four additional jobs in related industries. Aviation is an important engine for the economies of the countries in the region and, without a doubt, a sector that will drive economic recovery once the health emergency is over.

“Many companies in the sector will be unable to survive if this resolution is implemented as planned. On behalf of the companies in the sector, we reiterate our call for timely dialogue and articulated, diligent and efficient decision making to ensure the well-being of the population.”

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