Photo: LATAM Cargo

MIAMI – The Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) has today given a review of the current situation of air transport and connectivity in Latin America and the Caribbean. The entity brought together the main executives of its member airlines within the framework of its Annual General Assembly.

ALTA states that the regional closure and travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19 have strongly affected aviation, tourism, and economies, putting at risk some 6 million jobs, only in the travel and tourism sector, and more than US$110bn of contribution to the region’s GDP, according to data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The Association further states that this is a very complicated scenario for the population and the countries in the region, while the evidence shows that air travel is not a vector for the spread of COVID-19 and that aviation is the safest and most efficient means of transport, even during the pandemic.

ALTA cites the US Department of Defense’s most recent and exhaustive study, which found that “–even if all aircraft seats are occupied– when sitting down and wearing a mask, an average of 0.003% of infected particles cross the passenger breathing zone and 99.99% of the particulates are filtered out of the cabin within six minutes.”

ALTA member airlines. Image: ALTA

A Commitment to Safety

ALTA and its members reiterate their commitment to the safety and health of their employees, air transport users and citizens; and its support for the recommendations and best practices collected by ICAO’s Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART).

Thus, ALTA urges governments to take a “balanced approach” based on risk assessment, eliminating quarantines and establishing standardized pre-flight testing requirements to reopen borders and allow the entry of travelers of any nationality arriving by air.

In line with industry calls, ALTA also reinforces its message in favor of a globally consistent approach to international passenger testing as a more effective alternative to quarantine measures, thus helping to restore traveler confidence, which will have a “notorious beneficial effect on tourism and local economies.”

The Latin American Air Transport Association ALTA, whose airline members include Avianca (AV), Azul Brazilian (AD) and LATAM, is a private, non-profit association serving the airline industry and whose objective is to develop safer, more efficient and sustainable aviation in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Featured image: LATAM Cargo. Photo: LATAM

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