Jorge Chavez International Airport, in Lima is Peru's main national and international gateway, with the majority of all international flights into Peru landing at this airport. Other major airports are located in Cusco, Arequipa, Iquitos and Piura. Some of the international airlines connecting Peru with North America, Europe and other Latin American countries include: Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, United Airlines and Air Canada. Although these airlines operate the majority of international flights, LAN Peru and TACA Peru make up the majority of domestic service. Directorate of Air Transportation is the Peruvian body responsible for regulating air services in Peru.
Airports in Peru
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Latin America provides huge growth opportunities for low-cost carriers given the region’s expanding middle class and miniscule LCC penetration rate outside the two largest domestic markets. The existing small field of six LCCs are best positioned to benefit from the anticipated growth and leverage their first mover advantage. Four of the carriers are eyeing initial public offerings (IPOs), which could give them the cash to accelerate expansion in their home markets and regionally.
Latin America’s LCC sector is now concentrated in only three countries – Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. The other 18 countries that comprise Latin America (excluding the Caribbean) account for about 35% of seat capacity but, remarkably, do not have a single local LCC. These markets are only served by foreign LCCs, resulting in limited and in some cases no LCC services at all. The overall LCC penetration rate in these 18 countries is approximately 2%.
JetBlue plans to introduce its first destination south of the equator in Nov-2013 with new daily service from Fort Lauderdale in South Florida to Lima in Peru. The move is consistent with the carrier’s plan to use Fort Lauderdale as a springboard into Latin America as JetBlue indicates more international service from the airport is in the pipeline.
JetBlue is also seizing a prime opportunity to introduce low-cost competition in market where the only LCC presence is a single weekly flight operated by Spirit Airlines. Other carriers operating in the South Florida-Lima market are oneworld partners American Airlines and LAN and Star Alliance member TACA Peru.
Services JetBlue has launched from Fort Lauderdale to Latin America appear to have a short maturation time, which results in the carrier looking to harvest more of those opportunities to balance out new market introductions that take longer to mature. JetBlue has identified about 20 potential new markets in Central America, South America and the Caribbean that are viable from Fort Lauderdale.
Avianca-TACA will come full circle during 2H2013 as its various airlines unify under the Avianca brand more than three years after the Avianca-TACA merger kickstarted consolidation in Latin America and drove the decision by LAN and TAM to form what is now the region’s powerhouse LATAM Airlines Group. During 2013 the competition between the two largest airline groups in Latin American will only intensify in the markets where they already compete fiercely – Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
With Avianca-TACA completing its merger more than two years ahead of LATAM, Avianca-TACA has the benefit of harvesting a combined network whereas LATAM is just beginning to ferret out the benefits of its newly combined network resources.
In addition to continued competitive pressure from LATAM during 2013 Avianca-TACA will also encounter some new competition on international flights from Ecuador and some pressure from startup VivaColombia in its largest market Colombia. At the same time Avianca-TACA continues to battle infrastructure constraints at its largest hub Bogota, which could result in further expansion at its Lima and San Salvador hubs.
Chile has recorded 17% passenger growth for the second consecutive year, making it the fastest growing market in Latin America. The rapid growth in Chile is somewhat surprising as it is one of the more mature markets in Latin America and the market is dominated by one player, LAN, which can have a stifling impact on competition. But the small country of 17 million continues to support rapid increases in travel propensity, which is already the highest in Latin America, driven by a strong economy and Chile’s unusual geography.
After recording flat traffic figures for 2009, Chile’s aviation market has grown by 57% over the last three years to 15.2 million passengers, according to Chilean Civil Aeronautics Board data. Growth in 2011 and 2012 was an impressive 17% while 2010 ended with 11% growth despite the impact of a devastating earthquake which struck Santiago in Feb-2010.
TACA Peru is planning further expansion with the introduction of widebody aircraft, two A330s, which will be used initially to increase capacity to Buenos Aires, Bogota and Miami. The upcoming expansion at the Avianca-TACA subsidiary follows rapid growth by the Peruvian carrier over the last two years in both the domestic and international markets. TACA Peru earlier this year became the second largest carrier in the country’s fast-growing domestic market, a position it has had for several years in Peru’s international market.
The new fleet of Lima-based A330s should help Avianca-TACA close the gap with rival LATAM, which is by far the largest airline group in Peru and the broader South American market. Avianca-TACA has been focusing on expanding its Lima hub, which is well positioned as a north-south hub for the fast-growing intra-Latin American market, as congestion at its main hub at Bogota increases. TACA Peru is one of several TACA carriers being rebranded Avianca in 1H2013 as Avianca-TACA finally moves to a single brand three years after it completed its merger.
Latin America’s powerful new force LATAM Airlines Group recorded USD50 million in net income and USD23 million in operating income for 2Q2012, the first time the combined entity of LAN and TAM has reported consolidated quarterly results since the close of their historic merger on 22-Jun-2012. While the combined result was positive, the separate performance of each carrier was less favourable with TAM recording a USD14 million operating loss for 2Q2012 and LAN only turning a small operating profit of USD37 million. The combined result posted by LATAM only includes eight days of contribution from TAM as the merger was finalised near the end of 2Q2012.
TAM posted a BRL928 million (USD458 million) net loss during 2Q2012 driven by foreign exchange currency challenges and losses from the carrier’s fuel hedging portfolio. LAN recorded a 68% slide in net profits to USD5 million, driven by weaker conditions in its cargo business and one time costs associated with union negotiations and the merger with TAM. Going forward the combined company plans to focus much of its 3%-4% capacity growth in 2012 on the strong north-south routes to North America.