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Airport Privatization in Region Called a Failure

November 16, 2007

MEXICO CITY – The director of the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) said Nov. 9 that the privatization of airports in Latin America has been a “failure,” generating big profits for the terminal operators without spurring needed investment in infrastructure.

“In many places (in Latin America), the fact of running an airport … constitutes a license to print money,” said Giovanni Bisignani, adding that the way operators’ concessions were set up has forced carriers “to pay at least $2.5 billion to the airports and service providers.”

“Governments throughout Latin America must understand that those infrastructure monopolies are not milk cows, because to obtain the biggest economic benefit from aviation we need transparent policies that result in efficient infrastructure,” Bisignani said.

Air travel generates $122 billion a year in Latin America, according to figures compiled by IATA.

On another subject, Bisagnani said the region’s air carriers must do more to improve operational safety, pointing out that Latin America’s rate of accidents is higher than the global average.

 

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