Chile's Air Traffic To Reach US Level By 2030

28th Oct 2014

Chile, undoubtedly, is one of Latin America's most visited countries today, with its stunning natural beauty from the Atacama Desert to the Andes.

However, though it leads in the region of passenger per capita ratio in terms of international visitors to the country, Chile lags behind other countries outside Latin America.

During the BNamericas 5th South America Infrastructure Summit recently, it was discovered that the country's per capita ratio is way below United State's ratio which stands at 2.34.

The North America's most visited country is a mature market already and Chile is expected to reach that level by 2030 yet. Currently, Chile is at the same level with Spain.

Airport traffic in the country currently stands at 17 million, equal to its current total population. According to María Isabel Castillo, MOP head of airports, Chile should intensify its effort to increase its traffic to reach the projected level by 2030.

She further said that the travel demand in the northern part of the country has soared due to the large concentration of mining towns and cities. The average traffic growth in the region was 17.4% over the 10-year period, between 2003 and 2013. The growth was rather modest in the central region of the country over the same period.

The country's Public Works Ministry (MOP) has already tendered a concession to expand the country's main international gateway, Santiago International Airport. Part of the project is the construction of a new terminal building which will have an area of 200,000 sqm. It will consist of four wings, two of which will exclusively serve international flights while the other two wings will both serve domestic and international flights on an alternating basis depending on the needs.

When completed, the airport shall be able to handle about 29 million passengers by 2030 and 50 million by 2045.

Santiago International Airport's passenger traffic posted a growth of 8% in the last fiscal year, handling 15.3 million.

The government is already planning to expand its other airports in Concepcion and Puerto Montt in the south and Iquique, up north.

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