After surviving the ups and downs of the global economy in 2008 and record oil prices, the radars of the aviation industry in Latin America have been activated and they are cautiously preparing for 2009, a year which will bring uncertainty.
In fact, it is estimated that the flow of tourists will be much lower, and planned investments will have to wait, jobs will be frozen, and it is speculated that there could be mergers of several companies.
In the region the situation is no different. According to declarations from the CEO of TACA, Roberto Kriete - at the fifth edition of the Forum of Leaders of the Latin American Air Transport Association (ALTA) held in Cancun, Mexico - despite company figures which show that 99% of the sales for December are a done deal, as well as 70% for January and 40% for February 2009, the following months will be a real challenge.
In the last five years aviation activity in the country has doubled, currently employing nearly 40 thousand people.
In the period 2006-11, air transport increased from 2.1% to 4.1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Panama, or approximately $1.279 billion.
"According to the report prepared by consultancy firm Oxford Economics at the request of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), aeronautical activity represented at the end of 2011 about $1.279 billion of GDP, which at that time was estimated at about $31 billion ", reported Prensa.com.
The demand generated by the region's rapid economic growth should give ample room for air transport companies to grow.
The Latin American aeronautical industry was one of the few to record growth during the financial and economic crisis. The market, shaken by constantly growing demand, has seen big changes this year, first Colombian Avianca's purchase of Taca and later the creation of a new giant carrier with the merger of Brazil's TAM with Chilean LAN.
The 6 airlines operating in the country experienced a drop in yearly sales of around 14.6%, or a reduction of $10.5 million in income.
According to the article on elsalvador.com: "...the type of traveler which had the greatest decrease in demand was the regular tourist, hence the companies are focusing their efforts on business travelers 'who have to continue traveling and to do so on specific dates', said Quinteros, manager of Mexicana in the country."
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