Published On: Wed, Apr 8th, 2015

Latin American and Caribbean needs direct connections – airlines will need 2,300 aircraft by 2033

Olivier ArrindelWILLEMSTAD - According to Olivier Arrindell, Chairman of AVA Airways, the Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast (GMF) states that  Latin American and Caribbean airlines will require 2,294 new passenger and freighter aircraft between 2014 and 2033, including 1,784 single-aisle, 481 twin-aisle and 29 very large aircraft (VLA) worth an estimated US$292 billion.  AVA Airways, which is part of this forecast and shall remain focused on the path of developing Curaçao as its regional hub, still have not received its Economic permit after 16 months.  Arrindell states that according to the Airbus GMF by 2033 some 31,358 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at nearly US$4.6 trillion will be required to satisfy future robust market demand in this area.

Latin America and the Caribbean have become one of the most urbanized regions in the world. The region’s GDP is currently growing at 3.9 percent per year, a growth rate above the world average of 3.2 percent per year. In the next 10 years, the economy in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to outperform the world average, while the middle class population is forecast to grow more than 40 percent by 2033, from 278 million to 398 million people. Where does Curaçao fit into this?

A strong economy and growing middle class has set the stage for the region’s traffic to grow at an average of 4.9 percent annually in the next 20 years, outperforming the world average of 4.7 percent. As a result, traffic flows within Brazil, within the Caribbean, between the United States and South America and between Western Europe and South America will grow to be among the top 20 in the world by 2033.  The Curaçao Government at this moment has no aviation policy or economic plan to take advantage of these opportunities. The Curaçao Hato International Airport has the perfect position as a transshipment point to move people south and east, Arrindell stated.

Moreover, while nearly all of the 20 largest cities in North America and Europe connect passengers with at least one flight per day, only 40 percent of Latin America’s top 20 cities do so. Today, North Americans and Europeans are the most willing to fly, taking 1.6 and 1.0 trips per capita, respectively, but in the next 20 years, Latin America and Caribbean travelers will travel twice as much to reach the levels in Europe today.

As a result, intra-regional and domestic traffic within Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to triple by 2033, growing at an impressive rate of 5.6 percent and becoming the biggest market for Latin American carriers. The AVA Airways Chairman believes that Curaçao’s future economy depends on these numbers and that the government needs to focus on developing the aviation sector to stabilize the economy and move it from 1% growth a year to 3%.

Precisely the region’s impressive traffic growth is fueling the expansion and success of the region’s low cost carriers (LCC). While most LCC traffic is currently concentrated in Brazil and Mexico, existing and future intra-regional and domestic traffic demand is already driving further LCC growth in Colombia and other markets throughout the region.  If Curaçao wants to survive in the next 10 years and have economic growth it needs to change its policy towards Aviation in general on the island. The Airbus GMF also shows that Latin American airlines continue to invest in new aircraft to maintain one of the youngest and most efficient fleets in the world. With a current average aircraft age of 9.5 years, aircraft operating in Latin America are 40 percent younger today than they were in 2000. On the other hand, the average aircraft age in the Caribbean and Curaçao remains at 20 years - more than five years older than the Latin America and world averages.

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