A year in review: Latin America’s market trends
For the final edition of the year, Noticias Airbus sat with Damien Sternchuss, Airbus Head of Airline Marketing for Latin America & the Caribbean, to review the most relevant market trends in Latin America’s aviation sector.
1. Damien, after a recovery year in 2021, how was 2022 for Airbus in Latin America and the Caribbean?
The Latin American and Caribbean region has been one of the last to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and in some countries, restrictions lasted well into 2021. Despite this, 2022 has marked a transition year for the region. The rapid rollout of vaccines and high vaccination rates led air traffic to recover faster and at a steadier pace than some other regions, thanks to the relaxation of entry restrictions, especially for vaccinated travelers. Led by Mexico, a country which never closed its borders, domestic traffic is now close to or above 100 percent of pre-pandemic levels in the majority of the leading traffic flows. International traffic is close behind and the latest edition of the Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF) expects overall traffic in Latin America and the Caribbean to reach 2019 levels between the first quarter of 2023 and the end of the second quarter of 2024. Passenger traffic growth is slated to remain solid for the next 20 years and comparable to the pre-pandemic forecast but with a four-year delay due to COVID-19.
2. This year also marked the return year for the FIDAE and Farnborough airshows, do you feel Airbus was able to reconnect with customers? If so, how?
Both airshows were great opportunities to reconnect with our customers and display our products. We kicked off the year showcasing a Swiss A220 throughout the region, first in Miami and then in Mexico, Panama, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. The aircraft’s performance, incomparable design, state-of-the-art cabin and unmatched customer experience made it a memorable tour of the region. The Chile stop coincided with the FIDAE Airshow, where the A220 and A330 Multi Role Transport took center stage on static display for the public to experience some of our most exciting products. Combined with the range of our larger single-aisle aircraft like the A320neo, the A220 is the perfect fit for customers in the region to expand and complement their growing domestic markets and to efficiently tap into unserved intra-regional routes
During Farnborough, LATAM Airlines Group signed a purchase agreement for 17 additional A321neo and confirmed its plan to incorporate 13 A321XLR, the only new generation single-aisle capable of flying missions of up to 4,700nm. Additionally, LATAM signed an agreement with six other major airlines to explore opportunities for a future supply of carbon removal credits with Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS).
It was also a significant year for our widebody aircraft. Boliviana de Aviacion announced their selection of the A330-200 to replace their 767 during FIDAE, while Mexican cargo carrier mas took delivery of the Americas’ first A330P2F earlier in the year. In November, Azul followed by announcing a firm order for three additional A330-900 that will complement the current fleet of A330 Family aircraft and the A350, which will debut this month.
3. How do you see the region going forward?
As mentioned, 2022 was a transition year and 2023 should help consolidate the recovery of air traffic, especially international. Longer term, the region is projected to see GDP growth of 2.5 percent annually, resulting in a growing middle class population expected to reach 500 million people in 20 years, mainly concentrated in urban areas, one of the highest proportions worldwide. According to the GMF, the predicted fleet to serve Latin America will double by 2040, thus requiring 2,550 new aircraft, among which the vast majority will be single-aisle aircraft (over 90 percent). As a consequence, demand for services will grow at 4.1 percent annually, slightly above the worldwide average. The region should expect around 38,000 new pilots and the same number of new technicians, while 46,000 new cabin crew will need training to meet growing demand. In parallel, Airbus will continue to support the airlines in their decarbonization ambitions by offering solutions to optimize their operations, reduce their emissions and transition to newer, more efficient aircraft.