Printed headline: Crossing Borders
A European Union (EU)-funded initiative—the EU-Latin America Cooperation on Civil Aviation—aims at strengthening ties between the two regions. The four-year, €7 million ($8.2 million) project is managed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and will encourage greater utilization of EU standards in Latin America, increase European market access to the region and bolster the EU’s reputation as a leader in the pursuance of regulatory harmonization worldwide.
The initial project gathering was attended by representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Antigua, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, and respective oversight organizations. The board plans to meet annually for progress reports on work-plan initiatives to include development of Colombia-EU, Brazil-EU, and Mexico-EU “comprehensive agreements,” and product certification working arrangements between the EU, Argentina and Colombia.
The project seeks to address capacity and infrastructure shortfalls that threaten continued growth in Latin America. International Air Transport Association (IATA) Regional Vice President of the Americas Peter Cerda has said that while competitive air carriers, a growing middle class, and favorable demographics will contribute to future growth—air traffic in the region is expected to double by 2034—the lack of infrastructure development and failure to promulgate smart regulation could threaten up to $42 billion in unrealized economic benefits.
IATA’s five-year strategic plan includes promoting the benefits of a harmonized regulatory regime, with a specific focus on Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. The international airline trade group reports that Latin America’s aviation system supports 5.2 million jobs and $167 billion in GDP. The region has consistently reported the first- or second-highest growth rate month-over-month since January, only exceeded by Asia-Pacific, with traffic increasing 7.5% in May compared to the previous year.