Air transport from Central America and the Dominican Republic lost 157 routes last year due to the pandemic, which meant 11,095 flights stopped operating, reported the Central American Integration System (Sica).
“As a consequence of mobility restrictions and the slow recovery of international markets, the sector has reduced its operations, which has had a negative impact on the economy of member countries,” Sica said in a statement released Wednesday.
The entity did not detail the amount of the losses or the type of routes affected, though the region depends on international traffic, which represents 99.4% of its operations, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
To seek the “recovery” of the sector, the general secretary of Sica, Vinicio Cerezo, and IATA delegates, led by its regional vice president for the Americas, Peter Cerdá, discussed a joint strategy.
“The sector needs the support of the industry and the governments of the member countries of Sica in order to recover the levels it generated in 2019,” the entity said.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the airline sector in the region generated $27 billion and around 1.3 million jobs.
In 2019, the airline sector generated $591 million in Belize and $1.1 billion in both Guatemala and El Salvador. Meanwhile, Honduras received $744 million and Nicaragua obtained $867 million.
At the top were Costa Rica with $5 billion, Panama with $8.500 billion and the Dominican Republic with $9 billion.
To continue operating in the context of the pandemic, the aviation industry has adopted biosecurity measures at airports and on flights, and facilitated testing while countries implement vaccination plans.