Traffic Figures Show Strengthening Latin American Markets

 - October 9, 2019, 2:17 PM

A million more Latin American air passengers meant August traffic had increased by 4.3 percent over the same month the prior year and by 4.9 percent from January, according to the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), which represents 90 percent of the region’s airlines. August’s passengers in the region totaled 26.7 million, and the composite load factor of 83.7 percent finished 2.7 points higher than in 2018, partly reflecting the capacity drop from Avianca Brasil’s failure.

ALTA apportioned its August numbers by domestic (20.1 million), international within Latin America (3.9 million), and international outside the region (2.8 million), and also by revenue passenger kilometers. Growth by RPKs increased only 2.6 percent, reflecting slower growth in intra-regional (1.2 percent) and extra-regional (1.1 percent) markets, as ALTA executive director Luis Felipe de Oliveira observed in a note. “Currencies devaluation greatly affected discouraging traffic to North America (the main extra-regional market) due to high travel costs,” he said. Most international travel from the region involved North America (79.7 percent), followed by Europe (17.6 percent), Asia Pacific (2.1 percent), and Africa and the Middle East (less than 1 percent each). Mexico-U.S. finished as the most important extra-regional market.

The report doesn’t include totals by country but identifies the most heavily traveled city pairs, led by Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo with 623,969 passengers, followed by Mexico City-Cancun with 462,966, then Bogotá-Medellin with 462,191. Of the 15 top city pairs, eight are in Brazil and all connecting with São Paulo; three from Mexico and all involving Mexico City; and three from Colombia, all with Bogotá.

De Oliveira also observed that air traffic growth has exceeded GDP growth in the region. “The absolute growth in passenger traffic was important in...routes where there is a significant corporate and business travelers’ percentage,” he said. “In contrast, routes where tourist traffic generally dominates showed decreases.”

ALTA has scheduled this year’s Airline Leader’s Forum for October 27 to 29 in Brasilia.