Latin America: The Last Region to RecoverBy Sofía Hanna | Mon, 06/14/2021 - 18:03
The recovery of the aerospace sector continues to be a global concern after the COVID-19 pandemic. While demand seems to be picking up in some regions, Latin America could be the last to recover, warns new study.
Latin America’s aviation sector will take at least six years to recover from the pandemic, claims an IFC report. The US, Canada and the Asia-Pacific region, on the other hand, are expected to take no more than four years to reach normal levels. The consequences of this slow recovery could be far-reaching. “This is a fall in traffic and revenue that could lead many airlines to go bankrupt … If you have fewer planes, you have fewer pilots and fewer crew members, and those layoffs will be permanent,” said Carlos Ozores, Consultant at ICF. The sector is facing its worst crisis in history, which led IFC to make an extremely pessimistic and cautious forecast because “the travel crisis will last much longer than the coronavirus itself,” explained Orozco.
In Mexico, the aviation industry has been gradually recovering but it has not reached its pre-pandemic numbers. In the first four months of 2019, a total of 46.425 million passengers flew using a Mexican airline and 21.841 million used a foreign one, reports the Federal Civil Aviation Agency of the Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT). These numbers had shrunk to 13.588 million in Mexican airlines and 5.887 in foreign ones during that same period in 2021. Pre-COVID-19 total occupation was at 79.9 percent in national airlines but had dropped to 71 percent in 2021.
While Mexico saw a total of 590,600 flights in 2019, by 2021 there were only 199,300. The number of pilots trained also dropped abruptly from 5,067 in 2019 to 694 in 2021. Mexico’s aviation industry is also facing other hurdles such as the recent downgrade of its air space from Category 1 to Category 2 by the FAA, as previously mentioned in MBN. The downgrade could severely impact the local aviation industry, while it addresses the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, warned Mexico’s National Air Chamber Association (CANAERO). President Andrés Manuel López Obrador claimed that the matter is under review, but until the category is recovered the downgrade could further delay the already slow recovery of the sector.