The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomes the announcement by Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez to reopen 15 airports in September, including Bogota. This is an important step for the necessary restart of aviation in the country.
“Air transport is an essential public service that people need for different reasons, such as work, health, family or leisure purposes. Aviation’s prospect to restart is good news which will allow for the resuming of mobility and integration of the country. With this decision, the sector and its extensive value chain, which includes tourism and commerce in Colombia, can begin to rebuild. While this is the first step towards a total reopening, we call on the government to continue the open channels of communication with the industry that will allow us to commence the process for also reactivate international flights,” said Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Americas.
Cerdá also thanked the Colombian President and his Minister of Transport, Angela María Orozco, the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz, the Director of Aerocivil, Juan Carlos Salazar and the respective mayors – for their openness and willingness to collaborate with the industry. “During the meeting held last Saturday with the authorities, we conveyed our wish to continue working together in order to increase the available capacity and facilitate the exchange of global best practices to ensure the safety of passengers and employees,” he added.
With the biosafety protocols approved by Colombian authorities and implemented by the industry, aviation will not become a vector for spreading the virus. The industry has demonstrated that all safeguards exist to restart the industry. Proof of this are the more than 70,000 passengers who have traveled in the last five months on humanitarian flights and the first test route between Bucaramanga and Cúcuta, which has transported more than 1,000 passengers, indicating that there is demand for the reactivation of the sector in the country. Furthermore, no known COVID-19 transmissions have been reported from these flights.
Aviation is a catalyst for economic development, progress and social integration. Every time a person travels, it triggers a domino effect of contribution, value and consumption. Before the crisis, aviation generated some US$ 7.5 billion to the Colombian economy, equivalent to 2.7% of the country’s GDP, and supports some 600,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“There are still several issues that need to be resolved soon, however, aviation will once again take off in Colombia. This will allow our industry to become one of the pillars of the economic recovery of the country after the pandemic,” concluded Cerdá.