Latin America and Caribbean Airlines Passenger Traffic increased 3.9% in 2019

Dear readers,

In 2019, Latin America and the Caribbean reached its sixteenth consecutive year of passenger traffic growth, with over 300 million passengers carried by the airlines of the region. It is an important milestone to celebrate, however, we cannot say it was an easy year: economic activity in the region was significantly lower than expected, 5 major airlines exited the market due to financial problems and the industry faced a wave of sociopolitical instability in the region that impacted large markets such as Chile, Colombia and Ecuador. Nevertheless, the industry remained resilient, with growth above GDP growth, which is estimated at 0.1% by the International Monetary Fund, and with a notable improvements in connectivity as 212 new routes/services were launched during the year: 125 domestic and 87 international.

The domestic market was the major player in 2019, accounting for 93% of the total traffic growth of the year. Mexico was responsible for 40% of the region’s domestic traffic growth, exceeding for the first time 50 million domestic passengers carried. Colombia mobilized 3 million additional domestic passengers, which accounted for 12.7% growth vs. 2018 and makes it responsible for 30% of the region’s total domestic growth. Argentina was the country with the highest percentage growth in the region (+13%) as a result of 1.9 million additional domestic passengers carried.

It is noteworthy the recovery of the domestic market in Brazil, which achieved a 1.7% increase despite the exit of a major airline that used to account for 12% of the market.

International traffic showed a 1.1% modest growth. The intra-regional international market did not show growth, while the extra-regional international market grew by 2.8%, mainly driven by traffic to/from Europe with 900 thousand additional passengers. The Brazil-Portugal market was key with LATAM and Azul increasing frequencies between both countries. The number of flights between Brazil and Portugal doubled in 2019 vs. 2018. It is also worth highlighting the implementation of positive policies, such as the exception of visa requirement for American, Japanese, Canadian and Australian citizens in Brazil, which resulted, only in the first half of the year, in a 16% growth in tourists visiting the country. The positive and timely policies’ adoption should further increase passenger traffic this 2020.

We operate in a very challenging region, but with a golden opportunity driven by our countries’ natural and cultural beauties, the geographical complexity that makes air transport essential, and airlines committed to the sustainability of air transport to make it increasingly responsible to the environment and communities. Aviation is the great engine of economic and social development in the region and a coordinated work will help us achieve its great potential for the benefit of our countries.

Good reading,
Luis Felipe de Oliveira

Panama, February 13, 2020 – The Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) informs that Latin American and Caribbean airlines carried 307.3 million passengers in 2019, and up 3.9% – 11.8 million additional passengers – from the previous year. Traffic (RPK) grew 3.6% and capacity (ASK) increased 3.3%, bringing the load factor to 81.8%, 0.2 percentage points higher than in 2018. (see table 1). The number of passengers carried during December 2019 increased 0.8% versus the same month the previous year, reaching 26.8 million passengers. In that month, traffic (RPK) declined 0.4%, capacity (ASK) had no change and passenger load factor reached 81%, 0.3 percentage points lower than December 2018.

Traffic to/from Latin America & Caribbean

Latin American and Caribbean airlines carried 30.9 million passengers to and from Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019, up 2.8% from the previous year (see table 2). Traffic (RPK) increased 5.3% and capacity (ASK) increased 4.2%, bringing the load factor to 82.9%.

Domestic Traffic

Latin American and Caribbean airlines carried 232.2 million domestic passengers in 2019, and up 4.8% from the previous year. Traffic (RPK) increased 4.5% and capacity (ASK) increased 4.7%, bringing the load factor to 81.2%.

* Most important segments in number of passengers

International Traffic

Latin American and Caribbean airlines carried 75 million international passengers in 2019, of which 44.1 million were international passengers within the region and 30.9 million outside the region. Argentina-Brazil was the most important intra-regional market while Mexico-USA was the most important extra-regional market.

* Most important segments in number of passengers

Traffic data from the following airlines is included in this report: Air Panama, Amaszonas, Andes Líneas Aéreas, Aruba Airlines, ASERCA Airlines, Avianca Holdings, AVIOR Airlines, Azul Airlines, Bahamasair, Boliviana de Aviación – BoA, Caicos Express Airways, Calafia Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, Cayman Airways, CM Airlines, Conviasa, Copa Airlines Colombia, Copa Airlines, Cubana de Aviacion S.A, Easyfly S. A., Ecojet, Flybondi, FlyMontserrat, Gol Linhas Aereas, Intercaribbean Airways Ltd, Interjet, Jetsmart, LASER Airlines, LATAM Airlines Group, LIAT , Link Conexion Aerea S.A. de C.V, NatureAir, Norwegian Argentina, Passaredo, PAWA Dominicana, RUTACA, Saint Barth Commuter, SANSA Airlines, SATENA, Seaborne Airlines, Sky Airline, Skybahamas, Southern Air Charter, Star Peru, Sunrise Airways, Surinam Airways, TAG Airlines , TAME Línea Aérea del Ecuador, TAR Aerolineas, Tropic Air, VI Airlink, VivaAerobus, VivaAir Colombia, VivaAir Peru, Volaris, Wingo, Windward Island Airways International

RPK (Revenue Passenger Kilometers) number of passengers carried times the distance traveled | ASK (Available Seat Kilometers) number of seats available for sale times the distance traveled | PLF Passenger Load Factor, obtained by dividing the RPKs by the ASKs | FTK (Freight Ton Kilometers) number of tons of freight carried times the distance traveled.

About ALTA
ALTA is a private non-profit association at the service of the air transport industry, whose objective is to develop a safer, more efficient and sustainable aviation in Latin America and the Caribbean. ALTA coordinates collaborative efforts across the entire value chain maximizing the impact of aviation in the region’s economic and social growth for the benefit of the industry, the nations and the people served by the air transport. 
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