Jun 13. More than half of the people in the Western Hemisphere live in Latin America and the Caribbean. Whether on islands in the Caribbean, the mountains of Colombia and Chile, or in the deserts of Peru, the topography of these vast regions is varied and challenging for road travel. Considering that passenger rail service is – at best- limited, aviation is the only viable inter and intra-regional method of passenger travel and cargo delivery.
Latin American airlines have historically been affected by limited access to capital, high operating expense and heavy-handed regulations that were largely designed to limit competition. The global reach of USA airlines, such as American Airlines, Delta Airlines and to a lesser degree discount carriers such as Spirit, has exploited these weaknesses to service the more profitable demand for intra-regional seats through hubs in Miami, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Now days, the old paradigms that defined the industry are changing due to fast growth of low-cost carriers, the shuttering of the most inefficient companies, and the use of bankruptcy restructuring to make even the highest-cost airlines much more efficient. Additionally, local codeshare agreements and alignment with worldwide alliance groups have clearly put Latin aviation into the big time.