Concessioned road traffic rises 6-7%

Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Traffic on Chile's privately-operated toll roads rose 6-7% in 1Q02 compared to the same period of 2001, according to the president of the Public Works Concessionaires Association (COPSA), Vicente Dominguez.

He said he was optimistic the figures would continue rising during the year, as the economy is expanding. "The number of journeys made by road is proportional to economic growth. Therefore, expectations continue to be good from this point of view," Dominguez said.

On recently reported COPSA figures showing a 10% drop in highway concessionaires' forecast profits as a result of lower traffic in the last three years, Domínguez ruled out any increase in tolls to make up the shortfall. He added that one of the alternatives being considered was to increase the concession period when the government commissions new works.

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The number of passengers using Chile's concessioned airports fell 14-15% in 1Q02 compared to the same period last year, which has caused airports such as those serving the cities of La Serena and Calama to post losses.

"Aviation activity is experiencing an unexpected re-evaluation, which has meant that many airlines have stopped operating or reduced flights. Air traffic is undergoing a big crisis," Dominguez said.

COPSA is made up of 16 highway and five airport concessionaires.