As the global economy in general, and business aviation in particular, begins to stabilize, so the squeeze on aircraft financing is beginning to relax, albeit with an element of conservatism. That was the message from speakers at the fifth Business Aviation in Latin America summit held yesterday at LABACE. A range of financial issues was covered during the summit.
Juan Escalante, vice president of Latin America for AirFinance, told attendees that the region’s cash-rich banks that deal in local currencies stepped in to provide aircraft financing in Latin America after international banks retrenched following the onset of the world economic crisis in 2008. In his view, private-equity leasing companies have also become popular in the region, especially supporting the helicopter market, where operators are looking for near-term deliveries to cover immediate requirements.
“Latin America is still a great place for business,” he said. However, he acknowledged that there are signs that the regional economy is slowing down. Another challenge he outlined is the length of time needed to do business, conceding, “Bureaucracy is part of the culture, and it’s not going to get any better.” Airport infrastructure poses another potential block in the road to expansion, although he noted, “The development of privately owned airports should close the gap.”