At the Argentina Summit hosted by The Economist, Mr Martin Eurnekian shared the Transport and Tourism panel with Cabinet Ministers Guillermo Dietrich (Transport) and Gustavo Santos (Tourism). The three stood on the same page as regards the opening of new routes, the welcoming of low-cost carriers to the Argentine market and the growth in tourism together with the current investment plans in progress designed by the government and the private sector in order to enhance the airport grid in the country.
"We are actually working in the largest airport plan in Argentine history", said Guillermo Dietrich, head of the Transport Ministry. Mr Dietrich also stated that in order to achieve that goal "we are working together with Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 and with the (Argentine) provinces in the development of a multimillion investment plan".
On his part, Martin Eurnekian, CEO of Corporacion America Airports and chairman of Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, praised the free market policies that the current government has set for the air transportation sector and especially those that have welcomed the landing of low-cost carriers. "This is a challenge but at the same time is very auspicious: Minister Dietrich has mentioned El Palomar (a low-cost airport recently added to AA2000's airport system), which has been the response to an increasing demand in the market." "I must stress", continued Mr Eurnekian, "that a most important chapter for the industry has been the incentive to boost the arrival of low cost carriers in a country that did not had them."
Regarding the ambitious expansion plan for Ezeiza airport that Minister Dietrich had announced, Mr Eurnekian added that "we are going to triple the airport's facilities; we are aiming to radically change the passengers' experiences at the terminal". He stated that Ezeiza's expansion project plan will transform it into a unique airport in the region, with a wide range of commercial products and services, with an important accent on local products". "If we want to sell Argentina as a tourist-friendly country, we must do it from the very moment the foreign visitor sets foot in our airports", he concluded.
Gustavo Santos, minister of Tourism, referred to the utmost importance that tourism has in the Argentine overall economic results. He said that in 2017 52 million passengers travelled in the domestic market; with another 6,6 million passengers that travelled international together with 21 million tourists that chose to stay at local hotels, setting an annual record with the creation of 270,000 new jobs within the industry.
As a wrap-up of The Economist' s special panel, Minister Dietrich said that the Ministry of Transport is expecting a 10 million airborne passenger increase for 2019. In 2017, 27/million people travelled by plane in Argentina. The year 2019 could mark a record of 37 million passengers.