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Santiago Airport (Photo: Gonzalo Baeza [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Chilean Flight Restrictions May End After September

On July 24, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) organized a web conference titled “Chile: Listos para Despegar.” One of the participants was Chilean Minister of Transport and Telecommunications Gloria Hutt, who stated that she believes it’s possible that flight operations restrictions may be revoked before September.

According to Hutt, the decision to cancel the restrictions depends exclusively on sanitation criteria and effective compliance of the criteria defined in the government’s program “Paso a Paso,” which translates to “Step by Step.”

The program, announced by Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, consists of 5 stages: 1) quarantine; 2) transition; 3) preparation; 4) initial opening and 5) advanced opening. Flight operations are included in the last stage, during which certain activities will be allowed, but only with the goal of minimizing crowds.

According to aero-naves, the only reasons allowed for travel by plane within Chile are labor, attendance at funerals of close relatives and health reasons, all duly verified at the time of travel. The only international operations allowed are repatriation flights, cargo operations and flights carrying medical supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hutt added that although the government’s interest is that air transport can continue to function as it is considered an essential industry for the Chilean economy, the focus is now on the families that need it the most. The minister also said that funds to support the aviation industry are being evaluated with expected delivery through different incentive mechanisms that can help aviation and the other industries to which it helps supply consumers, such as tourism.

Meanwhile, Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Vice President for the Americas, added that, “In August Chile will enter the fifth month on land, few countries have opened and quarantined. If the situation does not change, we will have more companies that will not be able to resist and with the departure of more operators from the countries. It depends on which states make their countries competitive in terms of safety, health and costs. We need to reduce costs to increase demand if we are not going to see a much smaller airline industry. We call on you to support us in everything that can stimulate demand and allow air operators to generate more traffic and more connectivity for Chile.”

Passenger air traffic in Chile suffered a significant drop in June. According to the Chilean Civil Aeronautical Board, 125,205 passengers were mobilized on national and international flights in June, which represents a drop of 93.4% compared to June 2019.

Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
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