Foreign airlines still operating in Argentina have voiced yet again their concerns over their future due to the country's restrictions on the number of flights allowed through Buenos Aires' Ezeiza international airport.
The country's connectivity with the rest of the world is at risk, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned Thursday.
IATA also pointed out that if restrictions are maintained, Argentina may be isolated from the rest of the world, which could have an impact on economic activity.
We have more than five [air]lines which are not returning to the Argentine market and another half a dozen that have significantly limited their presence in the country and we do not know if they will return,” IATA's VP for the Americas Peter Cerdá said in a radio interview.
He added that the situation was heading for the worse each day the restrictions were maintained.
Cerdá also stressed that the severe measures taken by the Government will lead to the loss of several jobs. Until today [Thursday] we have not had any notifications as to the planning. May be there is a small increase in the number of passengers, which is currently a thousand per day, but we are not expecting any great news that restrictions will be lowered” significantly. The current caps have been effective for almost two months.
The IATA head said that he maintains an open dialogue with the Transport Ministry and with civil aviation agency ANAC, and that they hoped to hold a meeting with Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero. But he underscored the official's “lack of interest” in working towards the recovery of a sector which could prove beneficial for the country.
Cerdá bore little hopes the current policy would change, although he did not rule out additional flights to bring back home Argentine citizens and residents who are still stranded abroad.
The emergency decree (DNU) limiting the number of travelers from abroad allowed into the country expires Friday and by Thursday airlines still did not not know what waas going to happen about it.
Meanwhile, IATA has just released its IATA World Air Transport Statistics (WATS), which showed the devastating effects on global air transport since the appearance of the COVID-19 crisis.
Passenger numbers were down 60.2 percent to 1.8 billion, industry-wide air travel demand (measured in revenue passenger-kilometers, or RPKs) dropped by 65.9 percent and international passenger demand (RPKs) decreased by 75.6 percent compared to the year prior, and domestic air passenger demand was reduced by 48.8 percent.
IATA said that airlines air connectivity declined by more than half in 2020 with the number of routes connecting airports falling dramatically at the outset of the crisis and was down more than 60 percent year-on-year in April 2020.
On the financial side industry passenger revenues fell by 69 percent to US $ 189 billion in 2020, and net losses were US $ 126.4 billion in total On average, there was a US $ 71.7 loss incurred per passenger by airlines in 2020. The decline in air passengers transported in 2020 was the largest recorded since global RPKs started being tracked around 1950.
IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said “2020 was a year that we’d all like to forget.” He added that “a million jobs [have] disappeared” and “industry losses for the year totaled US $ 126 billion.”
Airfreight carrying vaccines and medical supplies from one end of the world to the other have kept the business afloat, although Industry-wide available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs) fell 21.4 percent year-on-year in 2020, but by the end of the year, industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) had returned close to pre-crisis values.
However, IATA said that the yearly decline in cargo demand (CTKs) was still the largest since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009, at a sizeable 9.7 percent year-on-year in 2020.