ALTA Calls on Colombian Government to Review Airport Tax Rates
Mar-2018 On March 23, 2018, during the Mayor’s Association Conference, Bogota’s Mayor Enrique Peñalosa proposed the creation of a new tax for passengers traveling in Colombia of 8,000 pesos for national passengers (approximately USD $2.88 U.S.) and USD $5.00 for international passengers, in order to invest in road infrastructure.
In response, ALTA, along with IATA and ATAC, expressed to all Mayors in cities with airports within Colombia its concern regarding the consequences such added taxes would bring to the country’s economy and the development of the industry in Colombia and the region.
Colombian tourism potential is in full development and this sector has become an engine for the country’s economy. According to figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council, the travel and tourism industry contributes with about 6 percent to Colombia’s GDP with more than 50 percent of tourists who visit the country arrive by air.
The aviation industry has continued to improve its efficiencies for consumers, and ALTA is continuing its focus to increase efforts throughout the region to reduce taxes for air passengers. These efforts have resulted in a 16 percent decrease in average fares in the region since 2011.
Colombian government and the aviation industry have been driving initiatives to benefit passengers in the country, such as Aeronáutica Civil de Colombia, who helped reduced airport taxes at Cartagena Airport in 2015. With this tax reduction the city of Cartagena got a great jump in air traffic and tourism development, resulting in more supply and demand, more opportunities for more people to fly, and direct benefits to Colombian economy.
Competitive rates would bring multiple benefits to the country of Colombia by developing the tourism industry, generating more passenger traffic, more frequency of flights, and more resources that translate to growth for local business and communities, which generate economic and social growth for all in the country.
The proposed increase in taxes and fees could also negatively affect the competitiveness of the main air terminals in Colombia. El Dorado International Airport is the third largest airport in the region, moving more than 30 million passengers per year. Increasing the airports taxes would negatively affect competition and the potential to become a regional hub compared to airports in nearby countries such as Panama.
Aviation industry organizations are working for a better-connected region, where there are no air borders. The region has great potential to achieve even greater connectivity and regional aviation, which translates into more options for passengers, more investment in our countries, and a much more competitive position for the nations.