A story late last week in the Wall Street Journal noted that while air traffic is flat or sinking in nearly every region of the globe, it is up year-over-year in one region: Latin America.
In Airlines Plot Latin America Course, the Journal notes that American, Continental, and Delta were all launching new routes to the region. “International traffic in Latin America has climbed by 12.2% so far this year from a year earlier, dwarfing a global industry average of 3.3% world-wide.”
Travel is up, the Latin American economies are relatively stable overall, and so far anyway, more friends and relatives have been going back and forth.
It’s not all cheery news for travelers though. While the new routes will provide more options, we are apparently all paying more to get to those places.
“Passenger yields, or the price paid by passengers to fly one mile, on routes between the U.S. and Latin America climbed 23.2% in September from a year earlier — far exceeding growth across the Atlantic, Pacific or within the U.S., according to the Air Transport Association. Third-quarter revenue per available seat mile, an industry standard, rose 19.7% from a year earlier for American on its flights to Latin America. At Continental, the Latin America figure was 14.9%.
Also, some routes are being taken out of play when traffic drops. Delta recently cut service to Querétaro and León, the two airports serving the colonial heartland cities of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato.
The article didn’t address what the Latin American airlines themselves are doing to take advantage of the rising tide. In my trips, they have offered a more pleasant flying experience than the U.S. carriers, and in the case of Taca and Copa anyway, usually at a better price as well.