The number of Chileans choosing to travel abroad by air in the summer months has increased by 17% from last year, and is double the number who travelled in 2001.
During the first two months of 2011, over 1.1 million passengers passed through the international section of Santiago’s Arturo Benitez airport. In the same period in 1981 passenger traffic hardly reached 80,000 a month.
The latest figures represent a record number of Chileans choosing to fly internationally in the summer months.
The last peak occurred in 2008, prior to the global financial crisis.
The economic recovery, the falling dollar, travel offers and better financial conditions have all likely boosted international travel.
According to the Civil Aviation Board (JAC), favourable exchange rates and special offers from airlines and travel companies have been particularly significant.
Chile’s largest airline company LAN noted a 30 percent increase in bookings for summer 2011, saying, “more than ever, people are planning their trips ahead of time.”
Of these summer passengers, 75% travelled within South America, a 20% increase from the same period in 2010. Passengers travelling to Europe increased 3%, and traffic to North America increased by 9%.
Argentina continued to be the most visited destination within Latin America and Uruguay had the greatest increase in visitors. With regard to carriers, LAN Airlines accounted for 46.6% of international passengers, followed by Sky Airlines with 5.2% and Brazilian airline TAM with 4.9%.
By Sarah Fisher – Santiago Times