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Arriving in Recife following Azul’s first Airbus A330-900neo flight. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | João Machado)

Latin American Low-Cost Carriers Trust They Will Recover First

After being announced as the new CEO and Executive Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association CEO, José Ricardo Botelho, announced that airlines operating in the Latin American and Caribbean market transported 1.08 million passengers in April, 97% less compared to April 2019, the last time 1 million people traveled in a month was in the 1960s. The situation in May was very similar.

He also declared, “for June a slightly better situation looms with the opening of markets such as Ecuador and Panama.” Based on the announcements made by the authorities in the region, it is estimated that by September all countries will have their travel restrictions lifted.

In this sense, and being close to the borders reopening between the countries of Latin America, many low-cost airlines expressed their confidence that they will be leading the recovery in the aviation sector.

Over June 9 and 10 saw the InverTUR 6 Forum being hosted; in which many low-cost airline representatives participated: Paulo Kakinoff, GOL Linhas Aéreas Executive Director; Stephen Rapp, Viva Air Perú CEO; Gonzalo Pérez Corral, JetSmart Argentina CEO; and, Esteban Tossutti, Flybondi Chairman.

These low-cost representatives agreed that the demand is contained now, and there will be a response as soon as the different government authorities allow airline operations, although it is expected that the volume of passengers will take months to return to the pre-pandemic levels.

“To generate demand, we first need a starting date operation for the aviation industry, so passengers will know that they will be able to buy their tickets and that they will be able to fly. The demand that we are going to have will be fragile and I do not think it is time to continue raising prices” said Stephen Rapp, Viva Air Perú CEO.

Regarding the possibility that airlines may be forced to leave empty seats to favor the distance between passengers, Rapp pointed out that there will be no such obligation, beyond the fact that some companies will make their own decision. He also declared that “with the aircraft filters and the implementation of other measures such as the use of masks and the reinforcement of cleanliness, compensated by falling fuel prices, it is possible that we continue to offer our low prices.”

In the Brazilian case, Paulo Kakinoff, GOL Linhas Aéreas Executive Director, pointed out that even the difficult health situation in Brazil, people continued to take flights. In fact, he expects that the demand will improve between 25% and 35% in July. Meanwhile, Esteban Tossutti, Flybondi Chairman, considered that due to the structure of the Argentinian flag carrier, Aerolíneas Argentinas, they will not be able to reduce costs and offer cheap tickets as they do. “With this economy hit, low cost will undoubtedly be the engine,” he added.

In an exclusive interview for torreeldorado.co, José Raúl Vargas, Sky Airline Perú CEO, believes that once air transport is restored, there will be a great opportunity for Sky Airline Perú. “Since the experience that in the many aviation crises happened in recent decades, low-cost airlines have come out stronger. For this reason, we expect that due to the cost structure that is considerably lighter than regular airlines, and due to our lower fares offer to our passengers, we will stimulate the demand a little more.”

Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
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