Airports Council International (ACI) World today emphasized the importance of infrastructure expansion and renewal, as well as effective airport slots allocation to the sustainability of airports in the Latin America-Caribbean region.
Setting the scene for a panel session on “Effective and sustainable regulatory regimes for airports,” at the ACI LAC Annual Assembly, Conference and Exhibition, in Bogota, Colombia, ACI World Director General Angela Gittens highlighted the region’s capacity constraints and the approaches needed to address the challenge.
“Many national governments in Latin America and the Caribbean face the predicament of surging air transport demand outstripping available airport infrastructure,” Angela Gittens said. “At the same time, 24 airports handling 43% of the traffic in the region are classified as Level 3 or Level 2 airports, meaning that they require slot coordination to manage demand.
“There are two approaches we need to consider in tandem to manage our scarce capacity and to close the infrastructure gap: How can we incentivize investments in infrastructure based on government objectives? And, how can we best manage existing infrastructure when demand exceeds supply?”
Although ACI does not promote any form of airport ownership, airport privatization has become an important investment vehicle for the development of infrastructure to accommodate air service demand; to contribute to community and national economic vitality; and to enhance the customer passenger experience.
“States have the responsibility to incentivize continuous investments in the airport sector,” Angela Gittens said. “If governments are unable to invest, they can explore other sources of investment to gain the capacity they need to accommodate growth in traffic demand. In the LAC region, 66% of passenger traffic is handled by airports with private investor participation.
“Regardless of the ownership model, what is needed is a stable, consistent and proportionate economic oversight facilitating timely investment in capacity. Regulatory interventions should be kept at a minimum and must be cost-effective.”
In regards to managing existing infrastructure via effective slot allocation, the recent reform of the governance structure for the Worldwide Slot Guidelines will serve as a minimum common denominator for the aviation stakeholders to allocate airport slots.
The new agreement on airport slots will have a transformative effect on a crucial component of the air transport industry and is a result of close collaboration between ACI and its global partners, the International Air Transport Association and the Worldwide Airport Coordinators Group.
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