By Jose Ricardo Botelho*

  • ALTA, the Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association, is celebrating its 42nd anniversary

When I joined ALTA in 2020, I took the leadership of a 40-year-old organization that had just completed a deep structural, identity and cultural transformation that would allow it to serve its members in a more agile way. A critical transformation that would prepare ALTA for two extremely challenging years.

Since then, going through big challenges along with this team, taking risks, celebrating achievements, welcoming new colleagues, working closely on new ideas has been and is always a privilege. The daily commitment of everyone in the organization makes possible what we do and with deep proud I can state that since 2020 we have welcomed 21 new members (counting 10 in just the first 3 months of 2022), we signed partnerships with 11 partners and soon we will announce more people and companies that give us their confidence and demonstrate their commitment to articulately work, joining efforts as a single team for the future of aviation. In this first quarter we also welcomed three new professionals to the team and we will continue to grow and expand ALTA’s scope in order to keep serving our industry.

This is an excellent occasion for pausing, giving thanks for the path we have traveled and renewing our strength to keep flying high, creating new ideas and reiterating our fundamental commitment: developing a safer, more efficient and sustainable aviation in Latin America and Caribbean that generates economic and social benefits for the population.

I would like to thank my predecessors for their legacy, our members who demonstrate their confidence in ALTA every day, and each person who is part of ALTA’s committees, projects, campaigns and events. I would like to recognize every member of our Executive Committee, Pedro Heilbron, Copa Airlines CEO and President of ALTA 2019-2021, and Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM Airlines y current President of ALTA, for their fundamental support to continue strengthening the organization.

Today we are on the path towards recovery. Certainly, we still have challenges to face, but we have a clear vision that aviation plays a key role in the region and that it will be the most powerful engine of economic and social growth for the population. That is why our efforts are focused on contributing to the prompt full reopening of borders with intelligent and harmonized regulations to generate opportunities for all.

We have a green future ahead of us, full of hope and initiatives that will make air transport a sustainable service with a significantly reduced environmental impact. It is our mission to build bridges of collaboration and promote instances of articulated work between governments and industry aimed at achieving the goals we have set.

In this line, initiatives such as the one worked on with LACAC, for the implementation of measures to develop an industry that produces sustainable aviation fuels in the region on a larger scale, with better costs and accelerating its implementation, while generating jobs and opportunities, are a priority.

Sixty-five percent of the contributions to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 come from the deployment of SAFs. Another important part will be achieved through new technologies, improvements in operations and infrastructure, and carbon offsetting and capture. Just this week, from Chile, LATAM announced the goal of reaching a 5% SAF use by 2030, favoring its production in South America. This is a very important initiative that will undoubtedly help to accelerate the development of a SAF production industry in the region, generate opportunities and reduce the environmental impacts of air transport more quickly.

We have a lot to work on and I would like to reiterate to all our members that they can count on ALTA. We are working tirelessly to generate efficiencies for the industry, optimize costs, improve operations with smart regulations and the adoption of more sustainable technologies, inform users and stakeholders that air travel is safe and possible, contribute to training the professionals that the industry will need in the short and medium term, and build bridges of collaboration.

We are ready to continue flying high, with and without turbulence, but always enjoying the journey.

Thank you for reading. Until a next flight!

(*) Jose Ricardo Botelho is the Executive Director and CEO of ALTA, the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association. He is a graduate in Law from the Catholic University of Salvador and with postgraduate studies at the Jorge Amado University and the National Police Academy of Brazil. He previously held other important positions as Head of Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) and as the Brazilian Alternate Chief Diplomatic Delegate at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).