Cargo Airport Project is Unfeasible

In Guatemala, according to the air transport union, the project of the new cargo airport to be developed in the Port of San Jose, Escuintla, is unfeasible in operational and commercial terms.

Friday, June 18, 2021

In May 2021, the Guatemalan authorities announced that they planned to carry out refurbishment works in an air terminal located in the coastal department of Escuintla, so that these facilities could operate as a cargo airport.

Alejandro Giammattei, President of the Republic, stated that the runway would be extended, in both directions, a total of 160 meters so that a 767 airplane, which is the largest cargo plane coming to Guatemala, could land, but for safety reasons we are going to do it.

One year after the announcement, air transport unions represented by the Guatemalan Airline Association (Agla), the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (Alta), and the International Air Transport Association, warn that this project is unfeasible.

Peter Cerda, IATA's Regional Vice President for the Americas, told that "... 'during a meeting with senior Guatemalan government officials, we have presented data that empirically demonstrates that the government's proposal is not the right one for the future of air cargo in the country. Similar projects in air cargo markets with activity-specific volumes - Panama, Peru, and Ecuador - have demonstrated that an airport dedicated solely to air cargo has no operational or commercial justification. IATA opposed at the time the construction of these airports in their respective countries and these terminals are now white elephants, thus breaking the promises of prosperity and economic development associated with their construction'."

The article states that "... the unions recognized the Guatemalan government's interest in developing airport infrastructure and reiterated that separating operations will increase the costs of importing and exporting goods due to the transfer of cargo from Guatemala City to said terminal and vice versa."

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