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Latin American Aviation Calls For COVID Restrictions To Be Dropped

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The Latin American and Caribbean aviation industry called on the local governments to lift all the remaining travel-related COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday. According to the industry, many of these restrictions are no longer required, and removing them should quicken the recovery from the crisis. Let’s investigate further.

No more restrictions

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), the Airports Council International Latin America and the Caribbean (ACI-LAC), and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) issued a joint statement calling for all remaining travel-related COVID restrictions currently in place across Latin American and the Caribbean to be lifted.

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These include testing requirements, proof of vaccination, Passenger Locator Forms (PLF), and evidence of COVID insurance, as well as dropping mask-wearing for travel within or between countries where these are no longer required in other indoor environments.

Already many countries in the region have lifted domestic COVID restrictions, such as health credentials or the use of masks in public spaces. As these countries open up and remove restrictions, it is only logical to remove similar restrictions from air transport, said the industry.

These organizations added,

“It has been proven that those countries without testing requirements are the ones where air transport is recovering faster. Aviation is essential for the social and economic development of Latin American and Caribbean countries, and we can only expect a full recovery of aviation and all the industries that depend on it if COVID-related restrictions and requirements are removed.”

Latin American governments should drop the remaining travel restrictions, says the airline industry. Photo: Getty Images.

The recovery worldwide

Global air traffic is showing clear signs of a strong recovery in air traffic. In the last few weeks, we have seen an increase in airline confidence and a range of regional air connectivity and air travel facilitation improvements.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said the number of air passengers carried from January to April 2022 increased by 65% compared to the same period in 2021, while aircraft flight departures increased by 30%.

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The Americas have performed the best among all the regions in the world. In terms of regional highlights, North America and Latin America’s domestic seat capacity has now recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Brazil and Mexico are among the highlighted large domestic markets.

Juan Carlos Salazar, ICAO’s Secretary General, said,

“These recovery indicators are highly encouraging, and most especially with respect to the re-opened travel and tourism markets and other positive economic and sustainability benefits which inevitably result from expanded international seat capacity and air connectivity.”

He added there is still much to be done before a full recovery can be achieved.

The Latin American & Caribbean region is offering over 52,600 weekly flights, 15.3% below 2019 levels. Photo: Getty Images.

Recovery in the Latin American region

Latin American airlines have been recovering their pre-pandemic traffic levels for the last few months. Some have rebounded quicker than others, particularly those in the low-cost spectrum. Carriers like Volaris, Viva Colombia, and Viva Aerobus are already flying at levels well above 2019.

Their recovery is also linked to the openness of their respective governments. Mexico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic have been among the most open countries, allowing tourism to rebound.

According to data provided by Cirium, there are around 52,694 weekly flights in Latin America & the Caribbean in May 2022, with 7.7 million seats available. If we compare these numbers to 2019 levels, the region still has to recover 15.3% of the flights and 6.0% of the seats.

Do you think travel restrictions should be eased in the Latin American region? Let us know in the comments below.


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