Punta Arenas airport is looking forward to a busy season given the November traffic and flight reservations for the coming months.
Nelson Ibañez, Director of the Punta Arenas air terminal said that Lan Chile has charter flights scheduled almost everyday until next March, besides its domestic traffic "which beginning January will include seven daily flights to Santiago instead of the regular four".
Similarly with DAP Airways which this season incorporated a Dash-7 and will be flying charters to Antarctica.
"I think December will give us the true picture of the season. The number of passengers, flights and most important the tendency should enlighten us as to what to expect in the months of January, February and March", said Mr. Ibañez who nevertheless anticipated he was "optimistic".
The number of passengers travelling through Punta Arenas airport in 2002 totalled 339.591 and 4,927 foreigners. In 2003, between January and October 31, the number of passengers was 264,253 and 3,555 foreigners.
Mr. Ibañez explained that the small number of foreigners was because in domestic flights, those passengers not leaving the country or not arriving from overseas are recorded as non-foreigners ("Chileans"). Foreigners are only those actually leaving or entering Punta Arenas from a foreign location, "such as the weekly flights to Falklands".