Issues and challenges facing aviation in the Americas up for debate

The latest issues and challenges facing aviation in the Americas will be debated at conference sessions at the 11th annual Routes Americas event starting in a few days. Sessions will include how the industry across South and Central America has picked itself up following a series of devastating natural disasters in 2017.

The aviation industry will gather in Quito next week (February 13-15) to plan and negotiate new air services within North and South America and the Caribbean. The event will bring together airlines, airports, and tourism authorities to develop air route networks. The 2018 event is hosted by the Municipality of Quito, Secretariat of Productive Development and Competitiveness, Quito Turismo, and Corporación Quiport.

There will be 650 delegates taking part in 2,100 meetings. Leading airlines that will attend include American Airlines, International Airlines Group (IAG), Aeroméxico, Air Canada, LATAM, TAME, and JetSmart. Around 70 airlines, 150 airports, and 35 tourism authorities are expected in total.

High-profile speakers include: Juan Carlos Zuazua, Chief Executive Officer, VivaAerobus; Declan Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, Viva Air; Maribel Rodriguez, Regional Director of Southern Europe and LATAM, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC); and Peter Cerdá, Regional Vice President, The Americas, International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Quito is a rapidly-growing tourism destination. Named as one of the first UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites in 1978, the city has a well-preserved Spanish colonial center and is the gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Galapagos Islands.

The travel and tourism industry in Ecuador directly supported 137,500 jobs in 2016 and its GDP contribution was more than $2bn. The World Travel & Tourism Council has estimated that the sector’s employment contribution will rise to 196,000 jobs by 2027 and its GDP could be worth $3.36bn, equivalent to 2.5 percent of overall GDP.

In December 2017, Ecuador’s President, Lenín Moreno, signed an executive decree for the adoption of an Open Skies policy – a move that has the potential to boost connectivity, unlock new markets, increase tourism, and create new jobs.

Quito International Airport is the main gateway to Ecuador. As a result of Quiport’s efforts in acquiring new international destinations with an increased number of airlines in operation, the airport’s IATA Connectivity Index has more than doubled within the last six years (from 4.25% to 10.24%). The airport has invested more than $133m in projects to improve the infrastructure and quality of services.