Latin America and Caribbean aviation industry makes urgent appeal to governments
The key regional organizations and stakeholders representing airlines, airports, air navigation services providers, industry suppliers, and related sectors across Latin America and the Caribbean are renewing their joint call on governments and authorities to work in a coordinated and assertive manner to sustain the viability of the aviation industry.
It is understandable that governments have enacted drastic measures like travel bans during this public health crisis to protect their citizens and contain the COVID-19 pandemic.Right now, the air transport system is playing its role enabling the urgent transport of medicines, vaccines, and life-critical personnel, and the safe repatriation of citizens, through its many additional emergency transport and remote access capabilities.
However, besides these critical flights, the rest of the air transport sector in our region has essentially ground to a halt due to the numerous mobility restrictions, travel bans and border closures in force. As a result, along with related business in the value chain, the industry is now increasingly facing a liquidity crisis.
We recognize and applaud the measures already implemented by some governments to support this critical situation and we greatly encourage others to urgently consider measures of their own. We are experiencing a massive decrease in air traffic with no end in sight, yet existence of air transport providers post-COVID19 must be ensured, as it will have an essential role to play in the socio-economic recovery.
Among the specific temporary proposals across the air transport value chain, we respectfully request the following to be considered:
- Aid the continuity of the services provided by airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, and associate services that will jointly support the return of commercial air traffic by ensuring the economic and financial sustainability of the aviation industry.
- The inclusion of the aviation sector in any national scheme or special aid package to provide relief for the current dire situation.
- The facilitation of debt renegotiation and to allow for government budgets to be reinvested in the aviation sector.
- The adjustment of working conditions for companies and employees to be jointly agreed upon as a contingency measure.
- Flexibility with respect to slot rules and other non-safety related provisions which can permit the industry to return to operations more rapidly once the contingency is over.
- Provide temporary relief in the requirement to develop infrastructure, particularly in order to comply with level of service obligations or projects that are not immediately required by the industry.
- Relax quality of service obligations until operations return to normal.
Finally, and most importantly, we request that any relief measures should be considered on a non-discriminatory basis with no sector benefitting at the expense of another.
We also strongly suggest that increased industry-government collaboration is required, not only through the remainder of this crisis but also throughout its recovery phase. Latin America and the Caribbean relies heavily on domestic, regional and international air connectivity. If the foundation of this industry does not survive the COVID-19 outbreak, the socio-economic recovery from this crisis across the region will be severely hampered.
We jointly remain at your disposal to assess and help determine air transport viability and recovery planning, which will protect the well-being of your population and the economic sustainability of your countries.