The Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) used the FIDAE air show in Santiago, Chile, to underscore its demand for the region’s governments to “make critical investments” in aviation infrastructure.

ALTA Executive Director Alex de Gunten, in tandem with International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Tony Tyler, said, “We can’t stress enough the need to address the infrastructure issues faced by our industry today. We can’t afford to wait until we have a crisis to take action. Infrastructure projects take years to complete, so the time to act is now.

“We need to work hand in hand with authorities and all industry stakeholders for the long-term benefit of our region and the travel public,” added de Gunten.

The ALTA executive, noting that Latin American carriers have placed $50 billion in aircraft orders between 2006 and 2011, berated governments for failing to match this commitment to build airports and strengthen air traffic management systems.

“As a result, the encouraging economic outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean is at risk from the constraints and economic inefficiencies imposed by an aging and inadequate aviation infrastructure,” de Gunten stressed.

“Aviation drives connectivity, and connectivity drives economic growth and jobs. Latin America’s airlines are making a valuable contribution to boosting the region’s GDP, but it is long past time for governments here to step up their commitment by investing in infrastructure to sustain aviation’s growth,” added IATA’s Tyler.