Governments in Latin America and the Caribbean are being urged to work together to harness the power of aviation connectivity to drive economic growth and job creation in the region.

The call came from Iata which also wants action to cut the tax burden which it says is undermining the region’s prospects for growth.

Speaking in Santiago, director general and chief executive, Tony Tyler (pictured), said: “There are 130 different ticket taxes in place across the Latin America and Caribbean region.

“They increase the cost of connectivity for businesses, individual travellers and potential visitors. Ultimately they limit the ability of aviation to catalyse economic growth, shortchanging the economy as a whole.”

The airline trade body also raised concerns about capacity constraints and costly passenger rights regulation.

Infrastructure deficiencies have long been an issue in the region. Key airports in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru face growth constraints while passenger numbers to, from and within the region are expected to double to 525 million by 2034, according to Iata.

“Infrastructure must keep pace with growing demand. Governments, airlines, airports and other stakeholders in the value chain need to unite to ensure the right infrastructure is put in place, in a timely matter and at the right cost,” said Tyler.

“Under the guise of protecting the consumer, we have seen a proliferation of prescriptive, unharmonised passenger rights regimes. While the intention is to protect the passenger, too often the reality simply adds cost and hamstrings the airlines in delivering the best customer service.

“Air transport in Latin America and the Caribbean supports more than 4.9 million jobs and $153 billion in GDP. It could create even more value but airlines struggle with high taxes, onerous regulation and infrastructure deficiencies.”