In 1991, eight million passengers traveled through Colombia’s airports. By 2009, the number nearly doubled to 15.6 million passengers and by 2010 passenger traffic exceeded forecast demand for 2014. Colombia’s growing economy and ranking as a popular tourist destination underscores the need to update existing airport infrastructure that is not keeping with the ever-increasing demand. According to Colombia´s Civil Aviation Agency (AEROCIVIL) passenger air traffic will continue growing at a rate of five percent per year. In the early 1990s the Colombian government began planning to upgrade the nation’s airport infrastructure using 25- 30 year concessions awarded to private organizations to expand, reconstruct, and operate different airport’s passenger and cargo terminals. AEROCIVIL is the entity in charge of updating the aeronautical infrastructure (different from airport infrastructure, explained later in this report), upgrading it from ground radio frequency based to satellite technology based.
The objective is to have modern passenger and cargo airport terminals by 2015 capable of satisfying the demand created by the expected solid performance of the economy. While Colombia’s economy was affected by fluctuating exchange rates and declining trade with its two leading trading partners (U.S. and Venezuela), the challenging business climate in neighboring countries contributed to the increase of net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Colombia. From a record USD10.6 billion in 2008, FDI decreased to USD 9 billion in 2009 reflecting the general curtailment of investment projects worldwide. Colombia’s GDP is forecast to grow a healthy 4.5% in 2010 and 2011, reflecting the excellent performance of key industries such as hydrocarbons and mining.
The implementation of the U.S. Colombia-Trade Promotion Agreement CTPA will have a positive effect on the industry as costs and tariffs related to U.S. products will decline and make these products even more competitive. Imports from the U.S. of Airport equipment will have zero import duties upon implementation of the FTA.
Colombia is a country with an estimated population of 45 million distributed in cities throughout the territory. Since the early 1900s, the aviation industry has played an important role in Colombia´s economic development due to the poor road and rail infrastructure investment and the difficult geographical conditions of the country. Colombia´s Civil Aviation Agency (AEROCIVIL) is the government entity responsible for managing and regulating all issues related to air space, aircraft and airport infrastructure.