The few flights that appear over Argentina are official and planes that cross the air space with departure and arrival from and to other countries.

Argentina, according to circular 144/2020 of the ANAC (National Civil Aviation Administration -organism directed by Paola Tamburellii-), prohibited until September 1 the possibility of selling tickets to airlines. From that disposition, the aeronautical industry (and the passengers) had begun to prepare for the return of the activity. However, it seems they will have to keep waiting. Own Minister of Transport, Mario Meoni, put the promise on stand by: « Until the health authorities have a clearer picture of the situation in general, flights will continue to be restricted, » he said. And he placed the ball further from the goal: « We expect air transport to return in the next 60 days. »

The unions are not very convinced to return to activity either. They say that the conditions are not met to be able to control and enable the aircraft and they ask for more guarantees for the protection of the health of their members.

Commercial aviation (airlines, airport operators, companies that operate in airports -restaurants, shops, etc.-, aircraft manufacturers and providers of air navigation services) generates 71,000 thousand direct jobs in the country. With the purchase of goods and services from suppliers, another 79 thousand.

It is estimated that with the money circulated by those who work in the sector, another 51 thousand jobs are supported.

And tourist connections by air contribute to sustaining 129 thousand jobs.

Total, 329 thousand people live from what the commercial aviation activity generates. It represents almost 12 billion dollars; 2.1% of the Argentine GDP.

However, with a few exceptions, everything has stopped since March.

The collapse of the number of flights in Argentina. The few that exist are not commercial. Source: ICAO

What is particular about the case is that Argentina is one of the few large countries in America that has maintained such strict measures with respect to commercial aviation activity in the midst of the current quarantine due to the advance of the coronavirus.

Canada, the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Uruguay are active at their airports.

Cuba enabled the arrival of tourists. And Colombia has already announced the return of operations as of August 31.

Argentina, Venezuela, Panama and Paraguay keep their borders practically closed.

Ezeiza airport, empty: for now there is no specific date for the return of the activity

« Argentina is the only large country in the region that has not yet opened its domestic flight market », explained to Infobae Rafael Echevarne, General Director ACI-LAC (International Council of Airports, Latin America and the Caribbean).

The ban applies to domestic flights and international connections. There are a few exceptions, such as those granted to companies such as KLM or Air France, which were authorized to transport passengers with dual nationality or with a special permit for study or work. The other alternative that exists to leave the country by air is private flights, which are much more expensive than commercial operations and with much more limited access.

“At the moment there are several countries with activity: Mexico and Brazil never closed their domestic traffic. Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica and Honduras joined, to name the most important. In Mexico there are already international flights. Ecuador too: foreigners are allowed in there, but they are asked to have the Covid test done and quarantine, ”Echevarne reviewed.

In Uruguay, which allows international flights but does not admit foreigners, and in Canada there are almost no restrictions and flights to Europe are enabled.

At par, countries that had applied similar measures to Argentina have already resumed the sale of tickets. Here, in the best of cases, this is expected to happen formally from September 1, regardless of the fact that some companies were offering tickets on dates of special promotions such as the hot sale or marketing connections that are subject to confirmation.

Latin America is the region with the most drastic reduction in flights. Currently, in this week of August, the flight offer registered a 73% drop compared to the same period last year. The United States has 51% fewer seats available, Europe 52% and Asia 40 percent.

“The issue is that in Europe, the United States and Asia, transport has been reactivated, there are no prohibitions except those established by the countries. But that in Latin America is not happening. ANDn Argentina in particular, the situation is very worrying. We do not have an opening date. They had spoken at the beginning of September 1, but we have a possible delay ”, Echevarne analyzed.

-The ANAC did not speak, but the unions and the Minister of Transport see it unlikely that it will be possible …

-It’s tremendous for the economy. Many think that flying is a luxury, but it is not. Flying is a must. Especially in Latin America, where there is no alternative infrastructure. There are no highways like in the US and Europe, and no rail networks like those regions. Look at your country. Bariloche’s winter season has been lost. And that not only affects the air transport industry, but other industries. The most obvious, of course, is tourism. But regardless of the number of infections, each place has its reality. Colombia is another country where the same thing happened as in Argentina, it is already doing pilot tests between cities in the country. Therefore, only Argentina would remain as the only large country in the region without opening the domestic market. AND They are countries that, by size or geography, depend on flights to communicate. Peru and Ecuador have reactivated domestic flights. Also Chile, but with some restrictions. And in Brazil and Mexico there always were.

The regional vice president for the Americas of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Peter Cerdá, presented a similar panorama. “This region is the one that has been closed the longest globally, in August we entered the fifth month on land. In addition, there is a lack of clarity regarding the reopening dates of air transport in various countries. If the restrictions or border closures continue, it is likely that many airlines will not be able to resist and that more operators will cease operations or cancel routes, how we have been able to begin to see in recent times ”, assured.

And he developed: “A market with fewer airlines represents less connectivity, fewer development and employment opportunities and fewer alternatives for passengers. In June, passenger traffic in Latin America fell 91.2% compared to 2019. However, in the flights that did operate, the load factor was 66.2%, which indicates that there is demand. Air transport is not a luxury on this continent, it is a necessity. In this region we depend on aviation as it is a safe and efficient means of transport ”.

According to Cerdá, Latin American governments are the ones that have given the least financial support to the region’s airlines. By 2020, the industry forecasts losses of USD 84 billion globally and USD 4 billion for airlines in Latin America. « With the borders closed there are no flights and the impact is enormous for everyone. Every time someone travels, it triggers a domino effect of contribution, value and consumption. The crisis is pushing companies to the limit of survival ”, he specified.

When asked about the specific situation in Argentina, he pointed out: “The airlines are very concerned about the reactivation date of the flights. Until now, we have maintained a transparent and fluid dialogue with the authorities in Argentina so that progress can be made in the application of the health protocols provided by IATA and ICAO and that the country already has ready and is necessary to be able to reopen in the safest way this September 1, the date initially indicated by the authorities and that, a few weeks from now, it has not yet been confirmed, and it looks more and more distant ”.

Country by country, from north to south, what happens in the rest of America

Canada

Source: ICAO

In that country there are national and international flights. It is one of the two American countries from where you can fly to Europe, for example. But the only passengers who can enter are Canadian citizens, those who reside there and their direct relatives. Those who have a US or French passport with residence in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon (a small island in the North Atlantic belonging to France) and have been only there or in Canada during the last 14 days can also enter Canada, always and when it is not for the purpose of sightseeing. And they must do it through the airports of Calgary, Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.

In Canada, in addition, the Quarantine law is observed. This means that all arriving travelers will be inspected for symptoms of the disease. If they are found to have them, they will need to be isolated for 14 days.

From August 2 to 9, 586 flights took off from that country (according to information from ICAO, International Civil Aviation Organization in its acronym in English). On the 9th, 137 flights departed.

U.S

Source: ICAO

North American airports are operating normally. But according to official information, foreign nationals who have been to China, Iran, European Schengen area, UK, Republic of Ireland and Brazil in the last 14 days may not be able to enter.

The first Covid-19 testing center was installed at JFK airport in New York City. Called “XpresCheck”, it is located in Terminal 4, it is in conditions to carry out 500 daily tests and it has nine rooms to carry out the analyzes.

There are also check-points where temperature measurements can be made.

The restaurants, at the moment, are only enabled for the take away service.

According to ICAO, last week there were 4,365 aircraft shipments in the United States. On the 9th there were 855 departures, and 56,221 Covid infections.

Mexico

ICAO source

The country does not have exit restrictions for its citizens or entry for foreigners. To enter, a « Questionnaire for the identification of risk factors in travelers » must be presented at the immigration office. Nor is it mandatory to carry a previous test certificate. Travelers arriving from countries affected by the coronavirus have their temperature taken and those with symptoms are quarantined.

Cafes and restaurants are open. And there are self-diagnostic centers distributed throughout the airport.

In the last week, 1,083 flights departed from Mexico. On August 9, 248 left.

Cuba

Source: ICAO

The island divided its airports. Only humanitarian flights, health aid and cargo arrive at Havana. On the other hand, in Cayo Largo, Santa Clara and Jardines del Rey, as of July 29, international flights were accepted, so that from there the passengers go to the hotels reserved in their tourist destinations such as Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cayo Santamaría, Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Cruz.

In the last week the departure of 136 flights was reported. On August 9 there were 59 cases of Covid.

Panama

Source: ICAO

Domestic and international commercial flights are suspended. Only cargo flights are authorized, and humanitarian and medical flights are approved after coordination with the civil aviation authority.

Last week he recorded 42 games. On August 9, it reported 7 flights and 1,091 infected with Covid-19.

Costa Rica

Source: ICAO

The Central American country only keeps some airports open. The main one, in San José – its capital – is available only for the entry and exit of Costa Rican citizens and residents, and to tourism from Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom since August 2, from and to where there are flights regular.

In the last week it reported 49 flights. On August 9 there were 8 games and 1,011 cases of Covid-19.

Dominican Republic

Air and airport operations began on July 1 of this year with the publication of a protocol agreed upon by public and private entities linked to the air, aeronautical and airport transport sector, based on the recommendations of the health authorities, national organizations. and international regulations that regulate Civil Aviation and approved by the High-Level Commission that coordinates actions for the management of the coronavirus pandemic in that country.

Between August 2 and 9, 307 flights were registered. In the last of those dates there were 60 games and 7,363 cases of Covid-19.

Jamaica

Source: ICAO

Commercial air operations are authorized but with certain restrictions. For this reason, each flight must have a special authorization that is requested via email to the aviation authorities of that Caribbean island.

In the last week there were 136 games. On August 9, 27 aircraft departures and 16 cases of Covid-19 were reported.

Colombia

Source: ICAO

Only passengers traveling on humanitarian flights are allowed to enter. This only includes nationals, residents of Colombia and passengers with a diplomatic passport. Pilot tests are underway to start domestic flights. As of August 31, companies that carry out international operations could begin to operate.

Passengers must complete a form called « Preventive Control Against Coronavirus » before arriving at the airport. Upon arrival, they are subjected to a body temperature test, and those who are suspected cases are referred to special isolation tents. All who arrive must comply with a 14-day quarantine.

At Bogotá’s international airport, a limited number of restaurants are open, as are commercial stores.

In the last week 104 games were registered. On August 9 there were 20 and 9,674 new cases of coronavirus were reported.

Venezuela

International and domestic flights are prohibited. It only accepts humanitarian flights.

According to ICAO, there were 15 flights last week. One only on August 9, while a day earlier 886 cases of Covid-19 were reported.

Ecuador

Source: ICAO

Since June 1 there are domestic and international flights, and several airlines, including European ones, have this country as their destination. And this extends to the Galapagos Islands, flights with tourists are allowed. That is, each passenger must have their Negative PCR test done a week before the flight and a 14-day quarantine. As for Galapagos, the test must be done 96 hours before departure and the presentation of health insurance for international tourists is mandatory.

In the last week there were 76 flights. On August 9, 15 games and 1,603 positive cases of Covid-19 were reported.

Peru

Source: ICAO

From July 15, domestic flights are authorized. During the month of August it will take a definition on internationals.

In the last week there were 40 flights. On August 9, 6 of them were registered, while on the same date there were 7,137 positive cases of Covid-19.

Bolivia

Source: ICAO

The ban on international flights still applies. Only humanitarians and officers are accepted.

Only 31 games were registered across the country in the last week. On August 9, only one flight left and there were 1,164 cases of coronavirus.

Brazil

Source: ICAO

The neighboring country lifted its exit regulations for its citizens and entry for foreigners and reopened its borders. The exception are the airports located in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraiba, Rondonia, Rio Grande do Sul and Tocantins.

Foreign travelers arriving by air in Brazil, for a short stay of up to 90 days, must present proof of purchase of medical insurance valid in Brazil with coverage for the entire period of the trip to the airline before boarding. Otherwise they could be rejected by the Brazilian authorities upon arrival. Residents of the country are exempt from this requirement. But in no case does the obligation to quarantine apply.

From August 2-9, Brazil reported 268 flights. On Sunday 9 there were 22 games and 49,970 new Covid-19 infections.

Chile

Source: ICAO

The trans-Andean country authorizes domestic flights and the departure of its citizens to some destinations. For example, they can travel to the United States but not yet to Europe. With regard to entry, international flights are only for humanitarian reasons, allowing only Chilean citizens and permanent residents to enter.

The affidavit for travelers to prevent the spread of coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) must be submitted before departure and can be found on the official government website. There are no tests on arrival, but arriving passengers will have to undergo a body scan to check their temperature and a quarantine that lasts for 14 days.

In the last week, 65 departures were registered and on August 9 there were 13 flights and 2,198 cases of coronavirus.

Paraguay

Source: ICAO

All international and domestic flight operations are prohibited. The only authorization is for repatriation, humanitarian, cargo and emergency flights previously approved by the corresponding authorities.

The last flight recorded by the ICAO dates from July 24. On August 9 there were 197 positive cases of Covid-19.

Uruguay

Source: ICAO

As of July 5, flights were authorized for citizens and residents of that country. Along with Canada, it is the only country from where there is no restriction of departures to Europe. As of August 6, citizens and residents of Mercosur countries can be in transit at the Carrasco and Maldonado airports. International flights can also operate at the same airports from that date. What is requested to enter is a PCR test negative done 72 hours before the flight and a Covid-19 test to be carried out a week later. Failing that, you must comply with 14 days of quarantine.

The last week – always according to ICAO – there were 8 flights. And on August 9, only 1, while the cases of Covid-19 were 10.

I kept reading:

Planes stopped: no definite date for the return of flights, what are the airlines’ plans

The Government announced that air transport will not operate again on September 1 as planned

The return of domestic flights is delayed: what options do passengers have and how can already purchased tickets be exchanged