It is a fact that today in Latin America people travel more by air. To respond to this growth, authorities, planners, operators and users of airports in the region face many challenges.
Passenger traffic is growing faster than airport infrastructure: a scenario which requires constant and long-term investment. With few exceptions, the most widely used model in the region is the incorporation of private financing and operations under various types of public-private partnerships (PPPs).
This is reflected in the series of major projects under way to meet strong demand faced by some traditional airports, which has led to expansions or construction of new infrastructure when capacity is reached or airports become absorbed by urban development.
The combination of increased demand and supply of new capacity is also creating competition between major airports in the region. Tocumen in Panama City and Guarulhos in São Paulo, for instance, are seeking to consolidate themselves as regional hubs.
The list of airports seeking to become regional hubs could grow and competition is also picking up within certain countries. But despite the major investments in infrastructure and strategic planning, it's the airlines that have the last word.
It is clear that given the dynamic growth which the travel industry will experience, Latin American airports are moving toward models fashionable elsewhere in the world and seeking new revenue streams.