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Inside Lima’s airport terminal (Photo: VasenkaPhotography – https://www.flickr.com/photos/vasenka/8722356428/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26698429)

Peru Increases Daily Frequency Cap in Domestic Airports

Peru is increasing the cap in the number of daily frequencies it has available domestic airports from four to six. The move comes as airports across the country had worked to optimize passenger handling operations, including reducing aircraft turnaround times as well as the time passengers spend at check-in and security checks, as reported by Aviacionline.

Though it may seem odd to cap the number of frequencies when the aviation industry is going through an unprecedented crisis and hitting rock bottom passenger levels, airports across Peru tend to be small and congested. For example, Captain FAP Carlos Martínez de Pinillos International Airport in Trujillo, Peru, can accommodate a maximum of three aircraft at a time, boarded through a single gate space.

This means that regional airport infrastructure cannot support social distancing measures if passengers departing in more than one flight at a time mix in the terminal. Hence flights need to be spaced out.

To be allowed to operate more flights into different regions of Peru, airlines and airports have been working to reduce the time it takes to handle flights to 90 minutes total. Airports in 17 Peruvian cities including Arequipa, Chiclayo, Chachapoyas, Trujillo, Talara and Tacna have achieved those shorter handling times and are now allowed to operate up to six flights a day.

To date, more than 1.2 million passengers have been transported on domestic flights since they resumed in July. Airlines look forward to a more positive outlook in 2021. While next year will also be challenging for the industry, passenger numbers have started to show signs of recovery in tourist hotspots such as Cuzco, Peru and beaches in the north of the country.

However, while the past few months have shown a slow and steady resurge in domestic travel, the situation may still get complicated in the near future. Peru has started to see a resurgence in the number of COVID-19 cases in the northern part of the country, as it has progressively continued to ease restrictions on movement and increase the scope of activities permitted. As healthcare professionals fear a second wave might be approaching soon, the government has not ruled out tightening social isolation measures if cases continue on a steady rise.

While the arrival of the much-awaited vaccine has brought hopes that things might get back to normal in the near future, Peru has not yet signed a purchase agreement without any laboratories, as of yet. While the government has hinted that it is in advanced negotiations with several laboratories, Peru might be getting the vaccine later than neighboring countries such as Chile and Colombia. This can take its toll on the travel industry, too, both from an inbound and outbound perspective.

Jose Antonio Payet
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