The most important commercial aviation event in Latin America & the Caribbean has concluded

More than 500 executives of the aviation industry, ministers of the region and head of State gathered in Panama

Panama, November 5, 2018 – Connectivity was the main theme of the most important commercial aviation event in the region, which took place in Panama City, from October 28 – 30, where the Autoridad de Turismo de Panamá and Tocumen International Airport were host, along with host carrier Copa Airlines.

In its fifteenth edition, the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum gathered more than 500 leading executives from the airline industry, civil aviation authorities, ministers of state and the President of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, who officially inaugurated the event:

“The Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association, ALTA, has been the engine of regional aviation since its creation. It has fulfilled its objectives of supporting the aviation industry and providing users with an efficient, safe and sustainable service, boosting the development of aviation and furthering the industry as the engine of economic and social growth in the region (…) Panama has done great work to become the Hub of the Americas. Therefore, for the government of the republic, it is very satisfying that this event takes place in our country and that the organization has established its headquarters in Panama City (…) All these dreams, projects we have in common; depend on you, depend on the air connectivity, depend on the quality of the aviation, the quality of its authorities and, above all, the coordination and platforms such as ALTA that allow this meeting of the industry today in Panama: authorities and private companies projecting its development in the coming years,” the President said during his speech.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ALTA’s Executive Director, welcomed the attendees: “Our region has shown very positive growth perspectives. Today, aviation in Latin America and the Caribbean represents 8% of global aviation, and we are larger than Middle East and Africa together and, we expect passenger traffic in the region to double in the next 10 years, getting even more leadership in global aviation. ALTA is in the region to boost this dynamism and, finding our identity has strengthened us and put us on the right track. Proof of this is the trust placed by 12 new affiliated members and 4 new airlines members this year,” commented de Oliveira.

The academic agenda of the event included five interactive panels and six presentations.

On Monday the event had the participation of:

Hernán Rincón, President of ALTA’s Executive Committee & CEO Avianca, who presented in a disruptive way -together with Avianca’s digital assistant, Carla- the future of the industry and what we must do today: “The growth we face in our region comes from the hand of a more demanding client. A client that asks for better experience, comfort, options and for us to take care of its time. That’s where technology takes great relevance in everything we do, aiming to improve the customer experience and increase productivity (…) That’s why we have to create and make sustainable a digital ecosystem to transform the customer experience. An ecosystem where not only airlines are protagonists, but also our suppliers our strategic allies and very important: our governments,” he said.

Alexandre de Juniac, Director General & CEO IATA, presented his perspective on global air industry and the region. As well as the value of aviation for our countries.

“Aviation is the business of freedom. We can improve lives and livelihoods across the Latin America and Caribbean region. We are committed to being safe and sustainable. But to really grow the benefits we bring, governments must provide: Harmonized regulation that enables growth; competitive cost structures that promote growth, and infrastructure that can accommodate growth.”, he commented during his speech.

Presentation by Michael Linenberg, Managing Director Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., who expressed from an economic point of view, his perspective on the future of the aviation industry in the region.

As a new associate member of ALTA, the President and CEO Atlas Air Worldwide, William Flynn, shared with the attendees an interesting perspective about cargo business in the region and how connectivity impacts the operation of this segment.

The Business Development Officer at HEICO, Alex de Gunten, moderated the panel “Infrastructure and investment in the region,” focused on how the Latin American and Caribbean region has great potential to be one of the best-connected regions in the world. The development of hubs or distribution centers will increase passenger traffic, generate business opportunities and positively impact the economic and social development of the region. Participating as panelists were: Claudio Dutary, Operations Manager at Tocumen International Airport, Jeff Poole, Director General at CANSO, Filipe Reis, Regional Director Airport, Passengers, Cargo and Security Americas IATA, Roberto de Oliveira Luiz, Inframerica Air Business Manager.

Emilio Romano, Managing Director Bank of America Merrill Lynch Mexico, moderated the panel “Benefits of the aviation industry for the region”, in which Ministers of Transportation and Tourism of the region shared their points of view on the importance of aviation, connectivity (air, ground and maritime), logistics and tourism for the economic development of countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. As well as what are they doing in their respective countries to improve infrastructure, regulations and joint work with industry. The participants were: The Minister of Transport Colombia, Angela Maria Orozco, the Minister of Transport Argentina, Guillermo Dietrich, and the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism Peru, Rogers Martin Valencia Espinoza.

On Tuesday the event had the participation of:

The panel of airline CFOs “Lessons to develop financing in the region”, moderated by Brian Pearce, Chief Economist IATA, and the participation of José Ignacio Dougnac, CFO Sky Airline, José Montero, CFO Copa Airlines, and Roberto Held, CFO Avianca, who debated several points of view about how to face the financial challenges in the region and guarantee the sustained growth of the industry.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ALTA’s Executive Director, and Peter Cerda, Americas Vice President IATA, presented the progress of the ISSA project in the region. Among the most outstanding achievements to date, 6 airlines of the region have registered, and a workshop will take place February 25 and 26, 2019 in Miami.

Carlos Ozores, Principal of ICF, moderated panel “The role of aviation in travel and tourism in the region”, in which top executives of the industry shared how aviation directly impacts the development of the travel and tourism sector with more than 280 million passengers traveling by air to the region, generating employment, commerce, and development. The speakers included Senior Vice President Regional Risks for Latin America and the Caribbean at VISA, Eduardo Pérez, Executive Vice President for the Americas at Amadeus, Elena Avila, CEO Sky Airline, Holger Paulmann, Senior Vice President of Planning Routes and Alliances Iberia, Neil Chernoff, and CEO Bahamasair, Tracy Cooper.

The CEO Simpliflying, Shashank Nigam, created an experience for attendees, examining how we live in the age of enragement and how airlines win the heart of the connected traveler.

CNN en Español Anchor, Gabriela Frias, moderated the panel of airline CEOs in the region, including CEOs of LATAM Airlines, Enrique Cueto; Avianca, Hernán Rincón; Copa Airlines, Pedro Heilbron, who discussed the needs of the region for the development of the industry and how to address them.

The ALTA Forum was also the scenario for the signing of bilateral agreements that will greatly contribute to the development of the aviation industry in the region:

ALTA and CANSO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at improving operational efficiency & enhancing safety in Latin America and the Caribbean aviation through active cooperation between airlines and air navigation service providers (ANSPs), facilitating the understanding of the roles and practices of each one and exchanging information.

CANSO Director General, Jeff Poole, said: “Increasing air transport demand is boosting economies in the region, and it is vital that air traffic management, airlines and airports cooperate closely to manage this growth safely and efficiently. Airlines and ANSPs in Latin America and the Caribbean are already working well together on implementing performance-based navigation, collaborative decision-making, air traffic flow management (ATFM) and other measures to improve the efficiency and capacity of airspace. This new agreement will further cement that relationship and establish a firm framework for increased cooperation and understanding.”

Aerocivil of Colombia and the Civil Aviation Authority of Ecuador signed a MoU to promote, develop and strengthen the administrative, technical and scientific cooperation between both countries and continue to strengthen operational and civil aviation safety.

“With this memorandum, we revitalize the cooperation relationships between Ecuador and Colombia in the field of civil aviation, and we continue with our strategy of internationalization of the institution, generating new mechanisms of work with strategic partners at a regional level,” commented the Director of Civil Aviation Authority of Ecuador, Carlos Álvarez.

“For Civil Aviation, it’s vital to unite efforts with other civil aviation authorities, in this case with the neighboring country of Ecuador, for technical cooperation, training and accompaniment issues, through initiatives that promote the development of air transport. All this under our commitment with the National Government and the policy of President Ivan Duque, to build a country of entrepreneurship, to ensure more and better services in civil aviation,” said Juan Carlos Salazar Gómez, Director of Aerocivil.

The Aviation Authorities of the governments of Nicaragua and Brazil signed an MoU. “The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and signing of an Air Services Agreement between the Aeronautical Authorities of the governments of Nicaragua and Brazil was carried out within the framework of the 15th. Airline Leaders Forum, organized by the Latin America and the Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), held between October 28 and 30 of this year, creating the first legal instrument between both States, facilitating the start of commercial air operations and promoting tourism and economic development, under the principle of mutual benefit and ensuring compliance with international standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). “, said Carlos Salazar, General Director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Civil Aeronautics.

During the award dinner, ALTA presented the “Alas de América” award to the Minister of Transport of Argentina, Guillermo Dietrich. Alas de America recognizes a person or -private or governmental- institution that has made or is making a significant contribution to the growth and continuous improvement of the aviation industry in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

In his speech, he commented: “It is not a prize for me, it is a prize for a team of people, of many who have a dream, led by Mauricio Macri and that is to develop a country. In Argentina, very deep transformations are taking place. Many of them are invisible – like the fight against endemic corruption and that unfortunately has caused a lot of damage in Latin America and Argentina in particular – but others are more visible, such as the Revolución de los Aviones. With this Revolution we show that we can. It is possible, after the stagnation we came from, to grow in less than 3 years by 40% in the number of passengers, to grow by 50% the connectivity in the interior of the country and by 70% the connectivity between the interior and the exterior of the country. It is possible, after 12 years of not having any new airline, to incorporate four new companies in this last year (…) It generates me a tremendous pride that ALTA has recognized us, and I thank you infinitely. I invite you to come to our country; for the tango, for the wine, for the meat, for the natural beauties, but also to invest in our country.”

The ALTA Airline Leaders Forum was a great opportunity for the industry to meet and discuss about the main challenges of the aviation industry. At the end of the event, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, together with Dario Rais Lopes, Brazil’s National Secretary of Civil Aviation, announced the destination of the next ALTA Forum: Brasilia, from October 27 – 29, 2019.

Access Forum’s pictures here:

Many thanks to the premium sponsors of this meeting: Boeing, CFM International, Embraer, World Fuel Services. Also, to the companies made it possible the realization of this event: Accelya, Amadeus, Brussels Airport, Hitit, Illuminair Support Corp., Kellstrom Aerospace, Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa Technik, Miami-Dade International Airport, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., Pratt & Whitney, Sabre, SITA, SmartKargo, SuperJet International, Terpel, UATP, Willis Lease, WorldPay.

About ALTA Airline Leaders Forum
The largest and most important event of its nature in the Latin America and Caribbean commercial aviation industry, ALTA’s Airline Leaders Forum is designed to stimulate an international dialogue that promotes safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly aviation in the region. The Forum provides an excellent opportunity for the industry to come together, analyze and address how best to navigate the current industry challenges and prepare for the future of air transport development.

The 15th ALTA Airline Leaders Forum was held from October 28 – 30, 2018, in Panama City, hosted by the Autoridad de Turismo de Panama and the Tocumen International Airport, together with the host airline Copa Airlines. More than 500 aviation industry decision makers attended this year’s Airline Leaders Forum, including CEOs and other high-level executives from 41 airlines; Ministers of State from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Panama; civil aviation authorities and national aviation agencies; as well as executives from multiple associations, including: Airlines for America, ACI, CANSO, CLAC, FAA, IATA and ICAO; numerous associations of local and regional airlines; as well as leading industry suppliers and key stakeholders.

About ALTA
ALTA is a private non-profit association serving the airline industry whose objective is to develop a safer, more efficient, and sustainable aviation in Latin America and the Caribbean. ALTA coordinates collaborative efforts throughout the entire value chain maximizing the impact that aviation has on the economic and social growth of the region for the benefit of industry, nations, and populations served by air transport.


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Media contact:
Nicole Lorca
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