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Taking Flight: Insights and Initiatives from ACI-LAC's Dynamic Aviation Conference 2023

The curtains closed on the ACI-LAC Annual Assembly Conference & Exhibition 2023 with a fervent plea echoing from the Latin American and Caribbean aviation sector to governments—a call for the swift implementation of measures to ensure the full liberalization of air transportation.

At the heart of the conference was the unveiling of the Miami Declaration, a bold proposal advocating for a regulatory framework characterized by openness, flexibility, and transparency in international air services. The aim? To elevate regional competitiveness on a global scale.

The spotlight shone on the "Liberalization of Air Transport in Latin America and the Caribbean" panel, where industry leaders emphasized the urgency of streamlining bureaucracy, alleviating tax burdens in air transport, and championing the cause of domestic aviation. Peter Cerda, IATA's Vice President for the Americas, underscored the pivotal role of government support in facilitating the expansion of air transport through liberalization.

With a record-breaking attendance of approximately 500 participants, the conference played host to industry executives, government officials, airport authorities, and a cohort of experts spanning aviation, technology, environment, management, finance, and accessibility.

A pivotal theme that emerged was the spotlight on airport accessibility, signaling a concerted effort to make these crucial hubs universally accommodating. Jessica Marín-Urrea, Innovation Leader at Miami Airport, emphasized the need to cultivate a culture of accessibility, with a call for leaders to be unwaveringly committed to meeting the needs of passengers with disabilities.

The ACI's Accessibility Improvement Accreditation program received acclaim for guiding airports like Miami International Airport, El Dorado International Airport in Colombia, and Carrasco International Airport in Uruguay towards becoming inclusive and accessible environments.

In the realm of Caribbean air traffic, a notable 2% growth in 2023 compared to 2019 levels was observed, propelled primarily by external routes and airlines from beyond the region. Expert presentations delved into studies on opportunities and challenges in air traffic development, safety regulation, cargo transportation, and climate change impact mitigation.

The conference drew participation from representatives of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the World Bank, airports, and specialized consulting firms. Rafael Echevarne, ACI-LAC's Director General, emphasized the conference's role in providing essential information and analysis for the growth of the industry in the Caribbean.

As the largest conference in the history of this regional organization, it fortified the commitment to air transport liberalization and the exchange of experiences and best practices.

Gratitude extended to event sponsors, including Exolum, Mera Corporation, SSP America, SITA, and others, for their invaluable support. Anticipation now turns towards the next conference scheduled for 2024 in Guadalajara, Mexico, promising another chapter in the evolution of air travel dynamics in the region.

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