IATA in the Americas
IATA's regional office for the Americas, based in Miami, along with its 10 country offices support the organization’s mission to represent, lead and serve the airline industry. We seek to improve the understanding of the aviation industry and increase awareness of the benefits the industry brings to regional and local economies.
We champion the global and regional interests of our members, challenging unreasonable rules and charges, holding regulators and governments accountable.
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.
IATA 5 year strategic plan for the Americas
The IATA Americas team has developed a five year strategic plan (pdf) with input from key stakeholders across the region to tackle the largest opportunities and threats, creating common objectives and initiatives to focus on between 2016 and 2021.
The Region at a glance
- 840,000 jobs generated by the airlines industry in Latin America and the Caribbean
- 4.2M people employed by industries supported by Aviation
- 268M passengers transported in 2014
- $138 billion aviation contribution to the region's GDP
- 5.4% annual growth of Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPKs) forecast over the next 20 years
2016 Economic Outlook for the Americas
- Regional outlook is mixed.
- Commodity price and exchange rate shocks hit the region hard in 2015.
- Mexico and Colombia forecast to fare well in 2016; Mexico is benefiting from strong US economy.
- Brazil is in recession and the next couple of years will be challenging.
- Argentina’s troubles include high inflation and a worsening fiscal situation. Likely to get worse before it gets better.
Americas Focus, May 2016
The political and economic crisis in Brazil has reached a new peak with the Senate's vote to put President Rousseff on a full impeachment trial. During her suspension, Vice President Temer will assume the presidency, who has been seen more supportive of our industry in the past. While expectations are high, time will tell if he can immediately make changes and gain the trust of the Brazilian people and business leaders alike. IATA has already met with ABEAR's Chairman to discuss how to best align our advocacy efforts and navigate through these unpredictable times together and you can find a summary of our common objectives below.
Venezuela also remains on the top of our priority list and IATA has applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation to seek discussion authority to address the blockage of airline funds by the Venezuelan Government. We expect things to get worse in the country before they get better as indicated by the recent attempt of the opposition to recall President Maduro by referendum which is delayed by the government and has resulted in further demonstrations.
While the economic state of the region seems uncertain, there are some positive developments to report as well, such as promising opportunities in Cuba, reductions of tariffs in Canada, improved flight efficiency in the Caribbean and increased efforts in smarter regulation advocacy across Latin America.
You will also will notice we have updated the look and feel of our newsletter to a simple HTML. We hope you find it useful and easy to read on the go but let us know your feedback on how we can further improve.
Lastly, we have two key events coming up: The Aviation Day Argentina
in Buenos Aires on May 27th with key government participation and a variety of regional airline CEOs. Thank you for your support and participation in our events which is crucial to effectively communicate the key messages to the government and create a positive business environment for aviation to thrive. And then IATA's AGM
in Dublin from June 1-3 where I look forward to seeing many of you in person.
As always, please count on IATA's continued support to bring positive changes in these uncertain economic times. If there is anything we can do, please let me know.
Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President, The Americas
Cuba Developments: Technical Mission & BSP Set Up
IATA continues to engage a variety of stakeholders in Cuba by providing an update to the government-owned airport and airline handling company, ECASA, on slot management based on the World Slot Guidelines (WSG) and preparing a technical mission of IATA airport and security/facilitation experts to airports across the island. The objective is to assess and provide recommendations and best practices for optimal use of current and future airport infrastructure development in Cuba. IATA also continues to prepare the launch of a BSP later in 2016 by engaging Cuban banks and IT service providers.
Venezuela: IATA Seeks Anti-Trust Immunity to Discuss Joint Action
IATA applied to the US Department of Transportation (DoT) requesting discussion authority to address the blockage of airline funds by the Government of Venezuela. The application wishes for airline members serving Venezuela to be able to discuss and potentially agree upon courses of action designed to restore their ability to provide economically viable air transportation services to passengers and shippers originating in Venezuela and to effect release of the US$3.8 billion of blocked airline funds held by the government. A copy of the application can be viewed here
and is now open for comments. In addition, together with ALAV (local Board of Airline Representatives), IATA met with the Finance Commission of the National Assembly and asked for the inclusion of the blocked funds as part of a new law that if approved, would formally recognize the amount owed to the airlines as part of the government's foreign debt.
Mexico: Local Initiative Aims to Restrict Overselling of Flights
The Mexican Senate is considering proposals that involve overbooking and imposed liability/indemnification requirements for damaged or lost baggage. IATA is working jointly with ALTA and CANAERO to collaborate on joint efforts to engage and influence the process and eventual outcome. Most recently, each of the associations submitted letters to counter a local initiative that would restrict overselling of flights. In its letter, IATA offers to bring experts in inventory/revenue management to Mexico to educate officials as to the sophisticated software used, and also to inform authorities about the counterproductive results the proposed restrictions will have if implemented. IATA, ALTA and CANAERO have agreed to work together on a series of regulatory fronts to advance the industry agenda by using IATA documentation to press for adherence to industry standards and best practices, participating in joint meetings with authorities and delivering workshops to stakeholders.
FAA Bill Approved by U.S. Senate, Waiting for House of Representatives
On 19 APR 2016, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the FAA Reauthorization bill. IATA, along with A4A and other industry partners, was successful in defeating a number of amendments that would have been harmful to the industry, including ones to regulate aircraft seat size, regulate air carrier fees, require flight crew member duty and rest requirements for cargo airline pilots to be the same as for passenger airline pilots, and give individuals with disabilities a private right of action to sue airlines for discrimination. Unlike the House bill, the Senate bill does not include the provision to corporatize the U.S. air traffic control (ATC) system. The future of the House bill is uncertain at this point..
Peru: Addressing LIM Airport Expansion Project Delays via Roundtable Participation
IATA sent a letter to the Peruvian Ministry of Transport & Communications (MTC) in the wake of new standstill of the already delayed expansion project in Lima Airport, which has triggered negotiation of a new (7th) addenda to the concession contract. The letter emphasizes to the MTC's that the new addenda should not bring additional cost to the airlines, its supply chain or the traveling public. The letter also asks for temporary measures, master plan and airport design to be under meaningful consultation with the industry. IATA also sent a letter to President Humala on the same topic and we continue to offer MTC our assistance and subject matter expertise that has been put to use in other airports in the region. As a result of the continuous efforts, the Peruvian Prime Ministry has taken the initiative of creating an inter-sectoral roundtable to evaluate the LIM airport expansion issue and IATA and AETAI have been asked to participate.
Panama: New Terminal Development
IATA visited PTY to review key elements of the airport and discuss how IATA's Fast Travel priorities could be incorporated in the development of the new PTY terminal. IATA explained how these initiatives could help to offset capacity processing issues in the new airport terminal. In particular, PTY is interested in adopting a bag drop "wave" system for check-in processing.
CNS Conference: Board Approves New Strategy
The 26th Cargo Network Services (CNS) Partnership Conference
in Nashville proved to be an overwhelming success with almost 600 senior delegates, discussing opportunities for industry associations to effectively address key cargo initiatives by working more closely together. Another milestone achieved was the approval and endorsement of the new CNS strategy by the Executive and Advisory Board, centered on the following strategic focus areas: Industry Financial Health and Transformation; Industry Representation and Operational Support; Value of Air Cargo Promotion; Industry Talent and Leadership Development; Industry Collaboration & Partnerships; and CNS's Financial Health. As part of the strategy, CNS is launching the U.S. Air Cargo Industry Affairs Summit in Washington DC in October of 2016 in collaboration with the Air Forwarders Association (AFA), Airlines for America (A4A), Cargo Airline Association (CAA), Express Association of America (EAA), Express Delivery & Logistics Association (XLA), National Customs Broker and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) and the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA). Details of the event will be made available on the CNS website shortly, and in the upcoming summer edition of the CNS Air Cargo FOCUS Magazine
NAV Canada to Reduce Its Tariffs After Successful Consultation
In 4Q15, IATA and airlines attended a consultation hosted by Nav Canada ("NC"). During the meeting, NC presented its financials and noted that it had nearly erased its pension fund deficit, which occurred as a result of the 2008 recession. Furthermore, it noted that it foresaw a positive future, in terms of financial performance. Based on these two factors, IATA requested that NC consider a rate reduction. NC acknowledged the proposal and also proposed issuing a refund to airlines, should there be an annual surplus. IATA and airlines agreed on the concept, but asked that reductions be the "normal" practice and to limit the size of refunds. As a consequence, NC announced a decrease in tariffs, on average, by 3.9%. Additionally, in order to return to customers an excess cash of ~$50M in its balance sheet, NC intends to reduce tariffs by an additional 3.9% temporarily for one year. Both reductions are effective Sep. 2016 but the temporary reduction will expire on Aug. 2017. Expected savings to the industry, through 2020, are estimated at nearly $274 million.
Mendoza Airport Closure
As part of their 2016-2019 investment plan, ORSNA announced the closure of Mendoza airport for 90 days during the reconstruction of the runway, the taxiways and main apron (Sep-Dec'16). To avoid total airport closure and its economic and social impact, IATA proposed an alternative solution to the airport operator and authorities to reduce the time period to a maximum of 30-37 days during which only the central portion of the runway and taxiway Charlie towards the main apron would be reconstructed. The remaining two-thirds of runway paving and additional works would be done without suspending flight operations. The authorities did not accept the proposal and announced MDZ's closure, stating that the complexity of the planned work (two layers of concrete runway) would make IATA's proposal problematic as it would not allow to reduce time as expected and rather increase costs and affect safety and operations. During the meeting with President Macri, IATA committed to bring an expert in runways to Argentina to further analyze MDZ's situation and propose alternatives.
Aligned Objectives for ABEAR & IATA Amidst Brazil Crisis
Amidst the growing political and economic crisis in Brazil, ABEAR and IATA agreed on some common key objectives to address during the remainder of the year, such as the revisions of conditions of carriage, questioning hazard pay, and addressing the elimination of connection fees and the urgent need to improve en-route efficiency in Brazil (domestic and international market). IATA will take the lead to provide global subject matter expertise and best practices while fully supporting ABEAR's local initiatives.
Airspace Efficiency Improvements in LATAM/CAR
IATA, CANSO and ICAO organized a regional meeting to change the status quo of the airspace and how it was used by Air Navigation Services Providers (ANSP) to improve the flight efficiency in the en-route phase. The target was divided into two tasks: 1) To reduce the longitudinal separation applied by air traffic controllers by 50% (from 80NM to 40NM) in 2017, another 50% by 2018 and apply radar separation (5NM) by 2019 across the countries' boundaries. 2) To improve the airways structure, reduce the airspace complexity increasing the capacity and shorten the track miles. For the first task the initial calculations are reporting a reduction of 250 miles, expecting CO2 savings of 1,830 tons per year for just 1 airline. For the second task, the savings are expected to be at least 2 tons of fuel per day and 6.3 tons of Co2. The ANSPs involved agreed with ICAO to have all the changes ready by December 2016, nevertheless after this initiative several ANSPs are already implementing the separation reduction of 40NM and even 20NM.
Mexico: Submitted Comments to COFECE Regarding Investigative Report
IATA submitted comments to Mexico's competition authority (COFECE) in response to its preliminary investigative report and proposed measures for slot administration at Mexico's Benito Juarez International Airport (AICM). In its comments, IATA highlights elements in the report that diverge or conflict with the application of the Worldwide Slot Guidelines' (WSG) core principles. IATA also welcomed many of the proposed measures in the Report, as they aim to harmonize procedures for slot allocation at MEX with international standards and best practices. A copy of IATA's response is available upon request.
Trinidad & Tobago: Currency Challenges
For a number of years there has been challenges in Trinidad & Tobago with the availability of USD. The recent decline in the price of oil has exacerbated the problem as Trinidad's primary export commodity is oil and gas. This situation has greatly affected the IATA Currency Clearance Services (ICCS) due to the shortage of USD funds being available by the Central Bank for IATA to process international transfers to the airlines participating in the service. Currently, the outstanding remittance balance is approximately USD2.6 million owed to about 23 airlines operating in Trinidad & Tobago. IATA has been in constant communication with the government authorities and banking institutions to urge them to provide a prompt solution and release funds to re-establish a sufficient supply of USD to the clearing bank. In March 2016, 50% of the ICCS backlog at the time was cleared. However, IATA continues to accumulate funds and we continue with our efforts to obtain a positive response from the government to prioritize USD availability to the aviation industry.
Guatemala Proposes Increase in Departure Tax
Recently the Guatemalan government decided to re-introduce the increase of the departure tax ($15 OW) originally proposed by the former government in order to fund the implementation of an overvalued biometric system ($100 million). The project was canceled late last year based on corruption scandals surrounding its cost. However, current immigration authorities want to take advantage of the previously approved decree under this project in order to collect this additional income but not necessarily to fund the implementation of a biometric system. To avoid the abrupt increase of the departure tax, IATA submitted a letter to the President of Guatemala addressing the negative impact of the increase and requesting its revoking.
New Mexico City ACC Met for First Time in 2016
IATA organized and led the 3rd Airport Consultative Committee ("AAC") for the new Mexico City airport ("NAICM"). More than 60 participants from local and international airlines, and many representatives from the international Consultant Team (GACM, Sir Norman Foster and Partners, Romero Enterprises, Parsons, Tasana, ARUP, Boston Consulting Group, etc.) participated in the ACC. During the meeting, the Consultant Team presented topics such as gate allocation, passenger processing/bag drop layouts, passenger and employee flows, timeline and key milestones, runways, aprons, Ground Transportation Centre, and BHS, amongst others. Airlines provided their input on each of the presentations. IATA is summarizing the concerns noted by attending airlines and will present them to GACM, the entity in charge of the NAICM project, for its consideration. We will continue to work to make the NAICM the "airport of the future" we are all eagerly anticipating. The next IATA MEX ACC Meeting will be held in 3Q16.
Smarter Regulation Advocacy Efforts in Latin America
IATA is working closely with the Latin America and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), to promote the industry's smarter regulation principles through various regional industry channels. Most recently a joint working paper was introduced and presented during a meeting of the Latin American Civil Aviation Commission, Executive Group of Experts (GEPEJTA) held in Montevideo. The Working Paper calls on authorities to take note of the importance of applying consultative regulatory principles with a focus on transparency and driven toward clear and defined objectives on consumer protection issues.