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South America DESTINATIONS


TIME TO OPEN UP?


JetSMART’s founder and CEO is urging South American governments to throw off the shackles and kick-start a new era in the region’s aviation fortunes. WORDS: ANDREW WIGHT


S


outh American countries are being urged to adopt open skies arrangements in order to shake off capacity constraints and


high prices. Founder and CEO of low-cost carrier


(LCC) JetSMART Estuardo Ortiz says governments of countries in the region are driving up prices for intercontinental flights as a result of protectionist policies. For instance, a flight between Bogota in Colombia and Argentina’s Buenos Aires can cost as much as a flight to Europe from either destination. Instead, he urges governments to work


together to abolish the regulations they are imposing on the industry and adopt open skies agreements instead. In doing so, he says this would kick-start a new era in the region’s aviation fortunes. Ortiz says: “South America would explode if we could serve all markets with


Estuardo Ortiz


a single AOC and access markets, reach customers and develop connectivity in a cost-efficient manner. “In Europe, a single regulation and open skies markets have allowed for expansion and development of the industry; improved connectivity to almost any city in the continent. The LCC model can change aviation in the region, but the regulation and infrastructure needs to enable it.” JG Aviation Consultants director John Grant says that the situation was worse in the continent’s south and singled out Argentina for traditionally embracing protectionist trade policies. “Argentina is a good example, where for many years the government has protected and supported


Aerolineas Argentinas at the expense


of other airlines. They have realised that this is a bit of a folly,” he adds. As a result, less than 3% of all air services


operated to or from and within Argentina are on low-cost services. In comparativew


routesonline.com ROUTES NEWS 2017 ISSUE 5 61


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