Increased Air Connectivity for flights to Uruguay
Uruguay ranked fourth among the ten countries that recorded the strongest growth in air traffic for 2016, according to a recent report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) published by specialized news portal “Hosteltur.com”.
The research indicates that the ten countries with the fastest growth in the international market were: Kazakhstan (20.3%), Uzbekistan (11.1%), Sudan (9.2%), Uruguay (9%), Azerbaijan (8.9%), Ukraine (8, 8%), Cambodia (8.7%), Chile (8.5%), Panama (8.5%) and Russia (8.4%).
It was indicated that the airlines as a whole will transport 3,600 million passengers in 2016, more than in 2014 when the number of passengers reached almost 2,800 million.
IATA also expects an average growth in passengers of 5.3% per year by 2016, with an increase of almost 500 million passengers on domestic routes and 331 million in domestic and international traffic.
These positive signs are giving way for Uruguay to move ahead and keep launching programs to promote airlines to have better connectivity that can also last in time. It has as well sparked new optimism in the Ministry of Transport of Uruguay, with promising prospects despite the impact generated with the loss of the Uruguayan airline Pluna last year.
Wings of Change
BQB has increased operations to improve the country’s connectivity with new flights connecting Montevideo and Punta Del Este to Asuncion and Florianópolis, and with increased frequencies for the summer season. Porto Alegre and Curitiba are also among the objectives.
The summer season 2015 is already showing an increased demand for the above routes. According to sources BQB flights departing weekly from Montevideo are traveling with higher occupancy at 70%. There is no doubt that as from December 2014 on, the flow of passengers will be even higher.
Alas Uruguay, a Uruguayan company that emerged from Pluna´s former employees, started operations in December with three aircrafts that will have 35 weekly flights from Montevideo to Buenos Aires, seven weekly flights from Aeroparque in Argentina’s capital to Punta Del Este and other seven cities in Brazil. Alas Uruguay has already gained positioning, becoming the first aircraft for charter operations. A regular frequency will allow more destinations with airlines such as Air France, Spanish Air Europe and Iberia.
Iberia also has returned to Uruguay, more committed than ever and connecting Uruguay with up to 70 destinations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The new Iberia route, launched during 2014, with 4 weekly flights Montevideo-Madrid, has reinforced their leadership between Europe and Latin America, with 200 direct weekly flights to 16 countries of the subcontinent.
Amaszonas has also made the inaugural flight in December 2014 and as from the 11th of December it launched three weekly flights connecting Uruguay to Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Paraguay.
This is a confirmation of the interest of flying to and from Uruguay and also of the joint efforts of the private and public sector to gain connectivity.
Carrasco International Airport
Not only the flights have increased, Uruguay has been betting on a radical change to position the country as terminal and has now a wonderfully designed airport with a capacity to transport about three million passengers a year meeting the requirements of flights for all international airlines. It occupies an area of 45,000 square meters and is covered by a unique 400 meters long glass dome, which allows natural light to pass through. Besides, there is also a large viewing deck overlooking the runways and parking for 1,200 vehicles. The idea that guided the design and construction of the new airport was to make a structure that showed modernity, progress and protection.
Recently the lease for Carrasco International Airport was extended for another 15 years to Puerta Del Sur SA, which will now run until 2030. In return, Puerta Del Sur SA will pay US$ 20 million and an additional fee of more than US$ 74 million that will go to promote Uruguay as a tourist destination and Montevideo as passenger and cargo hub. While it will invest more than US$30 million to enhance the infrastructure and optimizing services, the firm will also build a photovoltaic solar farm that will allow the airport to start the journey to become the first air terminal in fully self-sufficient energy from renewable sources. Also, it will install a new integrated security system that will reduce waiting times for passengers at checkpoints. This without doubts, will turn Carrasco International Airport in one of the most modern terminals in South America.