A few days before the end of 2021, all eyes of the commercial aviation market They are set on what will happen in 2022 regarding the restrictions on international flights established by the national government. Prospects are not good as the sector’s numbers are not encouraging for the official plans that are urged to preserve the few Dollars What about reserves.
The reasons are diverse. The impact of canceling the payment in installments of passages abroad is not significant and demand will remain sustained compared to current levels. Another negative factor for the official strategy is the sector’s trade balance. Despite the opening of borders, the flow of tourists from abroad is very low in relation to the Argentines who leave.
There is a compelling fact. 2021 will end with a volume of international air operations below that registered in 2020, a year in which Ezeiza was closed for several months of quarantine. The information comes from the latest report from ANAC, the body that manages the commercial aviation market.
Between January and November of last year, there were 6,088 flights abroad and 1,234,000 passengers were transported, while in the same period of 2021 the flights were 4,787 with 901,000 passengers transported. It is true that this fact deserves an explanation.
In January, February and part of March 2020, before the pandemic broke out, the activity was 10 times higher or more than in the following months, after the air closure due to the health issue. The difference obtained in that normal period means that 2020 remains above 2021, which had a restricted opening in the last 11 months.
If analyzed from March to November, this year’s operations are above those registered in 2020, but far from the prepandemic months. That is why in the accumulated they do not compensate the accumulated they do not compensate. In any case, the data is conclusive: the Central Bank cannot support this year the demand for “tourist” dollars which is less than that of the almost inactive 2020.
To get an idea of the crisis, you can buy with 2019. In 11 months, 22,807 international flights were made (4,787 in 2021) and 5,046,000 passengers were transported (901,000 in 2021). That is, today the air activity is around 20% of two years ago. Still, there are no dollars.
The problem is aggravated because the plan of the government to balance the scales with the arrival of foreign tourists. According to estimates by airlines, the current ratio is 80% of Argentines who travel abroad against 20% of foreigners who come to the country. This is always talking about the air market, beyond land border tourism. The expectation that this unevenness is balanced are not many since some factors would not be working in favor.
Although Argentina is cheap for those who have Dollars or euros, the global health situation did not improve enough for it to fly normally and it does not seem that it will do so in 2022. The new strains continue to cause damage to economic activity. Few tourists dare to travel in these conditions to a place as far away as Argentina for more economic benefits that it offers.
The most specific possibilities have to do with regional tourists. It is not the same in terms of economic power. To this is added that the discouragement sought with the ban on selling tickets abroad in installments does not have such an important effect.
Interest-free financing was practically limited before the measure. Only Aerolineas Argentinas had some attractive plans or some second-line bank did, but in short terms. Most of what was offered was interesting and not very attractive. In the sector they admit that the current traveler is of an economic level that does not have inconveniences to pay in cash because it has dollar savings.
A piece of data that reflects this comes from a first-rate airline – one of the most important – which has practically all the departing flights in January sold. You have a hard time filling them back. This general situation suggests that the difficulties generated by the outflow of dollars for tourism were not solved and will be present in 2022.
The concern is focused on knowing how many airlines will be willing to continue operating in the country under these conditions. It is anyone’s guess how he will deal with it government and to what measures will it appeal to stop the emission flow.
It will also depend on the possible agreement with the IMF That could ease the financial situation. Although this has some elements to take into account. One is that, even with the agreement, many economists estimate that the currency problem will continue to be present as long as it is now. Another point is that accepting the monitoring of the international body can limit the type of measures that are applied. The Government would not have the freedom to act with the autonomy that it does now.
All this scenario presupposes that 2022 will continue to be a difficult year for those who want to travel abroad. Due to prices and options, it will be an activity for few. Every time for less.