IATA promotes the value aviation brings by increasing connectivity, improving infrastructure, helping airlines in the region become more competitive by advocating for a smarter regulatory environment and improving the passenger experience through the use of technology.
The regional office maintains close relations with governments, their agencies, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Latin American Civil Aviation Commission (LACAC) , Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), Airlines for America (A4A), airports, air navigation service providers and regional airline associations.
Americas Focus: Archive
IATA's Latest Regional Activities
While the summer is in its final weeks in the Northern Hemisphere, IATA has been engaged on many initiatives across the Americas region with a special focus on slot management and airport infrastructure projects. In summary, we welcome that Colombia has announced the full adoption of IATA’s World Slot Guidelines while we continue to urge COFECE in Mexico to adapt these well-proven global standards to manage capacity at the country’s airports. We have also expressed our members’ concerns regarding the lack of project milestones for the new airport in Mexico City. On the security front, I am pleased to share that we have hired a dedicated security subject matter expert for the Americas’ region with Tony Blackiston joining my team as Head of Aviation Security. Tony brings tremendous expertise having worked for the Australian Government, ICAO and, most recently, as Head of Security for Cathay Pacific. He will be responsible for developing and implementing a regional strategy aligned with ICAO’s Global Aviation Security Plan to enhance security across the Americas.
In other positive news, Luis Felipe de Oliveira has been appointed as ALTA’s new Executive Director. Having closely worked with Luis Felipe for many years during his time at IATA, I look forward to a close collaboration and driving our common aviation agenda forward. Lastly, I hope to see some of you at our Peru Aviation Day in Lima on September 28th to discuss infrastructure opportunities and how to create an aviation friendly regulatory environment. As usual, please find below a summary of our latest activities across the Americas and corresponding contact information for more details. Please let me know if you have any questions and continue to count on our support.
Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President, The Americas
Bolivia: Adoption of IATA Cargo XML Standards
Bolivian Customs Director General notified Advanced Cargo Information (ACI) for import shipments will be implemented in Bolivia by mid-2018, adopting the IATA Cargo-XML standards. ACI supports governments to conduct efficient risk assessments on shipments coming into their territories based on information transmitted to them at least 4 hours prior to the flight arrival. IATA strongly supports the ACI concerted implementation as it is a great trade facilitator. Countries that have adopted IATA’s recommendations have experienced an average reduction of customs’ clearance time of 5 hours, which results in the final consumers receiving their orders up to 24 hours earlier. Bolivia joins Paraguay, Argentina, Mexico, Jamaica, Panama and the U.S. in the list of countries that have adopted IATA Cargo-XML standards in their respective ACI programs.
Colombia: Full Adoption of Worldwide Slot Guidelines (WSG)
After several years of IATA working in collaboration with Aerocivil, the Colombian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), to align their slot regulation to international best practices, the CAA has published its Slot Regulation for all congested airports in Colombia and it is fully aligned to the WSG. In practical terms, this means that all airlines which currently operate in Colombia, or plan to operate, will be able to rely on a single standard process for the allocation of their slots.
This standard process reflects the important principles established in the WSG that provide airlines with certainty, transparency and flexibility to run their businesses at congested airports, and on the end of the route, when also slot coordinated. IATA will continue to support the CAA in the implementation of this regulation at Bogota Airport (already declared Level 3), and at the airports of Rio Grande, Cali and Cartagena (to be declared Level 2). The CAA informed all airlines operating to Colombia that the Slot Coordinator will work and advise all airlines in advance on the implementation phase and the transition plan from the former to the new regulation.
Costa Rica: Bill Introduced to Compensate Pax for Flight Overbookings
The lower chamber of Congress has received for its review a draft of legislation that would potentially impose limits on ticket over sales. There is a possibility that the Project of Law will not be tabled for review due to forthcoming elections that are expected to take political priority. However, as drafted, the legislation includes limitations applicable to overbooking and compensation requirements in the case of over sales. IATA will continue to monitor the evolution of this initiative, seeking opportunities to engage with members of the legislature to advocate on behalf of the industry.
Mexico: IATA Urges COFECE to Embrace Global Standards for Slot Management
On 24 July, IATA called on Mexico to fully apply World Slot Guidelines (WSG) to manage capacity at the country’s airports, particularly its Mexico City hub. WSG ensures airlines can operate their schedules under the same set of rules on all routes in their network. Mexico’s Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) has recently proposed a slot system that deviates significantly from global standards.
The system includes the following proposals: 1) To auction slots off to the highest bidder which would limit competition, preventing less well-established airlines from entering or expanding in the marketplace, reducing choice for passengers, and potentially increasing air fares; 2) To confiscate 10% of existing slots from airlines at congested airports which would weaken route networks and reduce traveler options in terms of frequency and destinations, financially damaging airlines; 3) To withdraw slots based on punctuality criteria which would undermine the ability of airlines to make long-term commitments and ignores the competitive and financial incentives airlines have to maintain on-time operations; 4) To impose a “use it or lose it” threshold of 85% which is inconsistent with the global standard of 80%. The press release is available in English and Spanish for your reference.
Mexico: Update on Passenger Rights Regulation
On 26 June, Mexico’s Passenger Rights Legislation was published in the Official Gazette after being signed into law by President Enrique Peña Nieto. There has been a misunderstanding between the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC) and the Mexican Consumer Protection Agency (PROFECO) on the applicability and intended implementation dates for requirements under the new law. DGAC has acknowledged that the law, as drafted, may be in breach of some of Mexico’s air service agreements (ASA), and has informed IATA and local stakeholders that it intends to issue an advisory in the coming days in its attempt to clarify concerns pertaining to the applicability of the law for international services. IATA continues to urge that airlines raise this issue with their home governments and press for a government-to-government communication if applicable, similar to a diplomatic communication delivered by the U.S. Government to Mexico raising a possible breach under the USA/Mexico ASA. IATA continues to closely monitor the situation and is working with the DGAC to bring a remedy to the situation.
Mexico: Summary of New Mexico City Airport ACC Meeting
The fifth Airport Consultative Committee (ACC) meeting for the new Mexico City airport was held in June. The attendees continued to express serious concerns about the lack of project milestones. The aviation community has been asking for a comprehensive project schedule since the initiation of the engagement with GACM and Parsons (Project Managers) so to allow for a meaningful collaborative and timely input. Attendees expressed the importance of having regular updates and timelines about the progress of NAICM. The forecast review presented by Landrum & Brown revealed higher passenger and aircraft growth than originally expected and some recommendations were presented for airfield improvements to accommodate this. The presentation by SCT on airport access and road infrastructure led the attendees to believe that a holistic approach towards the connectivity between the new airport and the city and its vicinities fell short. While “connecting the dots” on the road infrastructure, mass transportation modal was felt not to be adequately explored. IATA will send a letter to SCT voicing the above concerns. The consolidated meeting notes are available here. The next ACC will be held in November 2017.
Peru: Update on LIM Airport Expansion
Peruvian Government and Lima Airport Partners signed 7th addenda to the concession contract, allowing much-needed expansion works to begin in January 2018. Construction of the second runway and new terminal will happen in parallel and are expected to be completed by 2022 and 2024, respectively. The concession contract will now be extended for ten years through 2041. IATA will now focus on working with the Peruvian Authorities, Lima Airport Partners, and airlines, to engage in meaningful consultation on other key issues, such as the conceptual design of the new terminal, minimum connecting times and cost of operating efficiencies. Additional efforts will also focus on temporary stop-gap measures to allow for growth in the short and medium term while the expansion works are completed.
Peru: Optimization of CUZ Airport
Collaborative efforts between IATA and the Peruvian Government to address stop-gap issues at CUZ Airport is yielding significant improvements, helping to increase capacity from 10 to 11 flights per hour. Through this continuous effort, in constant consultation with airline operators, corrective actions taken so far include better usage of the check-in area, departure lounge, and removal of inoperative aircraft from the main apron. The CUZ Airport optimization initiative seeks to optimize existing infrastructure of the current airport, while the new airport in Chinchero gets built.
Uruguay: Creation of Passenger Security Fee
The Ministry of Defense of Uruguay issued Resolution 625/17 creating a Passenger Security Fee of USD 5.75 scalable in a 6-year term to finance implementation of API in the country. A Cargo Security Fee was created as well. The law was passed unexpectedly and despite IATA’s constant efforts to educate Uruguay’s authorities of ICAO’s API/PNR international standards and best practices during the last years. The resolution grants a 10-day period for airlines to act against it. IATA is leading a communication campaign with all stakeholders and authorities involved as well as the media to deter imposition of this fee and to achieve participation of the industry in the API project before its implementation.
USA: FAA Reauthorization Update
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee considered and approved competing measures to reauthorize the funding and programs of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The bills will now proceed to the full House and Senate, respectively, for further consideration. The House legislation would create an independent, non-profit corporation to provide air traffic control services with the FAA continuing to serve as safety regulator. The Senate bill does not contain a similar proposal. Given the differences between the two pieces of legislation, it is extremely likely that the Congress will need to pass a short-term FAA extension before the current authorization expires on 30 September 2017.
IATA & ALTA Regional Fraud Prevention Efforts
IATA and ALTA have been collaborating to create local fraud prevention groups in key markets of Latin America. During the first half of 2017, IATA and ALTA have pushed forward and groups have been formed in Colombia, Mexico and Canada with representatives of airlines, credit card processors, local and regional police forces, and GDSs. The kick-off meetings prompted discussions on main system vulnerabilities and fraudulent acts. Participants shared best practices, knowledge and organized sub-working groups tasked with specific market initiatives.