Argentina's transport minister Guillermo Dietrich has called for a doubling of domestic traffic in the country, which lags behind that in other countries in the region.
Dietrich, who recently spoke at an event with airlines keen to serve Argentina, says: “Today, in Argentina the percentage of people flying is only half of [that in] similar countries, when 15 years ago we had roughly the same figures. But since then, domestic air traffic in countries like Chile, Peru, Colombia or Brazil has grown by 200%, while our numbers of passengers only advanced by less than 25%."
He adds that Argentina has to recover "two lost decades" where no investments were made in the aviation sector. While Dietrich is for liberalisation of the domestic market, he draws the line at foreign carriers operating routes within the country. A number of foreign carriers, however, already have local affiliates operating in Argentina.
Argentina's ambition to catch up with its peers in the region was dealt a blow in recent weeks when Aerolineas Argentinas president Isela Costantini resigned after less than a year in her role. Costantini had reportedly opposed Argentina's plan to immediately liberalise the local market, calling for more time to prepare the carrier for competition.
Despite the leadership crisis at the airline, Dietrich praised the carrier's recent improvements in on-time and financial performance.