Recorded at CAPA Latin America Aviation & LCCs Summit, 25-26 Aug 2022

Exploring airport challenges: Environment, partnerships and privatisation

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt across the entire aviation ecosystem and while the airlines are receiving the most attention in the media, one cannot forget the impact on the airports and their supporting businesses.

Airports in their own right are facing a range of challenges from adapting in a post COVID world in dealing with both passengers and airlines, to the status of privatising some airports in the region.

A recent CAPA study identified Latin America as one of the least able regions in the world to articulate what measures it is taking to tackle the environmental issue at its airports. What can it do to up its game?

Meanwhile, CAPA’s airport construction database reveals that Latin America is making the least investment of any region in its existing airports, only one sixth of the total in the Middle East. Its saving grace is that investment in new airports is roughly at the level of Europe, and far greater than that of North America. Where is that investment coming from in the future?

One potential source is the private sector of course, but it isn’t that straightforward. Latin America is one of the most privatised regions on Earth where its airports are concerned, most of them by way of concession contracts, and some of them dating back as far as the late 1990s. Latterly, the action has mainly been in Brazil but the auction process there is coming towards the end of its usefulness, just as some of the original deals are being retendered because the concessionaires are angry their expectations were not fulfilled.

What are we to make of the privatisation process here over 20 years after it first began? Can it be deemed a success or failure? Where will it go from here and what lessons can be learned by countries which are considering going down the same route, themselves?

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