Airport sector empowered in first year of government for air transport recovery

The Dominican Republic is among the countries that have grown the most during the pandemic in the field of aviation, and its representatives attribute this to the fact that airlines see the country as a safe destination.

The humanitarian flights were the best line that avoided the complete paralysis of air transport in the middle of the state of emergency decreed as a result of the beginning of the health situation that is still affecting the whole world.

In these 12 months of President Luis Abinader’s first year, there have been actions and situations as in every line of business. The batch shipment of vaccines to the Dominican Republic is pointed out as the crowning achievement.

The closing of the border by air, sea and land entered somber because in reality it was not known in front of what the world was facing and the situations that had carried since 2018 the country with a negative campaign towards tourism.

What was certain was that those days clouded the sky for air transportation.

The Dominican Republic was there within the situation playing a role with what was happening and for this to develop a work that was extraordinary in coordination with the authorities of Public Health and the other actors knowing that it had an institutionalized aviation system. The operational and technical part did not stop. What did stop was the movement of daily passengers and, consequently, many employees.

But the question of those days was what would happen from that moment on. If the Covid-19 would change the system of work, of experiences and important living spaces, of studying and the role of teachers in the face of confinement.

The virtual classes sought a way to get used to those who barely knew him and those who had vision problems. The text readers became a different stimulus. Deserted streets and rolls of paper clearly indicated that everyone was quarantined.

Technology and the virtual form were winning the battle against “stay at home”, to better cope with isolation. It’s not vacation time. ‘The only cure now is you.” “Avoid elevators’, ‘Let’s protect ourselves against the coronavirus, the only hero is you’.

Many were working for the welfare of health, doctors, nurses, police and military; even employees of shopping malls such as pharmacies and supermarkets, in the middle of the National Emergency called by the Government with curfew from 5:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Achieving the union of voices of artists, businessmen, sportsmen that had no competitions at the time to the real conventional ones.

The normal sports inactivity to the virtual said it was not the same.

Charitable initiatives, with surprises and others not to help the least and the air transport on hold while all this was happening. The applause on the balconies and television in the distance became new ways of communicating.

Although the political class did not remain calm and electoral time with a view to change dates to take place.

Finding in the social networks their greatest refuge.

The outlook for the trip was for later. It is here when it began to be defined what had to be done to move forward and with more faith.

The sectors involved began to hold socialization meetings with both the private and public sector, knowing that there was a situation to be addressed and did not expect.

The high vacation season produced by Holy Week was atypical, with virtual religious ceremonies, no normal flights at airports, hotels without many guests, passenger terminals and semi-deserted areas, some planes operating as a return ferry.

The economic growth almost stopped, the permanent changes and new technologies in air traffic, the level of development reached by the national aeronautics felt in pause due to the decrease of air operations, when it was imposed to propitiate the advance.

From this point on, the time and actions to be initiated could define the short or long term recovery of the effects that would generate in air transportation, even if in others they would return to normality.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) called for urgent and strong support to help the world tourism sector not only to recover from the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, but also to “return to growth”. In fact, the secretary general of that organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, visited the country and held a meeting with President Luis Abinader, with whom he would later meet in Spain at the Tourism Fair.

The aviation industry made an urgent appeal to governments to guarantee the survival of the industry on March 30, 2020.

Airports Council International (ACI-LAC), the Latin American Air Transport Association (ALTA), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it was understandable that governments have implemented drastic measures such as travel bans to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, but as a result the industry now faces an economic and liquidity crisis.

In another communiqué published on April 9, 2020, it was again reported that Latin American and Caribbean airlines would see their revenues drop by at least US$15 billion that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and would require massive financial support from governments to stay afloat during the crisis and to face the “complicated” start-up of operations once it ends.

The Dominican Republic was able to empower itself to be considered as it has been, placing the country among the fastest recovering countries in the pandemic.

This has not been by a stroke of luck, first we must take into consideration, the decision to grant special powers by President Luis Abinader to the Civil Aviation Board, by the hand of its president Jose E. Marte Piantini and the excessive support to the Ministry of Tourism, with its owner David Collado and other entities, the best letters of introduction to a scenario that seemed uncertain and has had to meet pressing stages such as time, patience and the influence of the gradual return of various sectors that converge in the activities. The JAD has special powers to negotiate and sign air agreements with other countries, such as Guatemala, Spain and Canada, while there are agreements to be signed with Costa Rica, Ukraine, India, Poland, Korea, Mexico, Ecuador, Cuba and the Russian Federation.

The plans to create new airport structures and compliance with national and international agreements that strengthen the Dominican aeronautical system such as civil aviation, can be seen as the structures of greater effort deployed in this period of time. In fact, with an investment of more than $1 billion pesos, Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI, S.A. (Aerodom), a subsidiary of Vinci Airports, inaugurated on November 11, 2020, together with the President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, the new cargo terminal at Las Americas – José Francisco Peña Gómez International Airport.

Compliance with the COVID-19 protocol, situations with travelers with some airlines and air routes have played an important role in the improvement of air transportation.

Dr. Marte Piantini, facing the events and in fact leads the good harmony with the sectors that make up the civil aviation sector.

The first can be referred to the case of the Venezuelan Government when it unilaterally decided to suspend the operations of this received by resolution equal condition.

In the case of the theft of the electrical system cables that affected the landing operations for more than three hours at the International Airport of Las Americas, AILA, “J.F.P.G.”, it was able to face the responsibility. And passenger situations with the service offered by some airlines.

RECOVERY

It is not fortuitous the expression of President Luis Abinader, who recently assured that the country is the best tourist destination in the world.

The president participated in the presentation of the report on the recovery of tourism. Figures. More than 2 million tourists visited the country in the first seven months of the year.

With the recovery of tourism, the generation of foreign exchange also increased by more than 2,400 million dollars. And that in the month of July more than 4 thousand flights arrived, a record number after the pandemic. 2,470,282 travelers visited the country in the last 7 months, including 426,046 foreigners and 73,404 Dominicans.

The countless visits of the representatives of the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, to the Dominican authorities as the Director of the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute, IDAC, Roman Ernesto Caamaño Velez, the president of the Civil Aviation Board, JAD, Jose E. Marte Piantini and the Director of the Airport Department, Victor Pichardo and the Director of CESAC, Director General of CESAC, Brigadier General Aviation Technician, Carlos R. Febrillet Rodriguez, among others, with whom they maintain close ties to follow up on the agreements established. Especially the presence of Melvin Cintron, a great sponsor of the level of the operational system in which our country finds itself.

On July 2, 2020, the historic date when passenger operations were opened had its effects, a new protocol only allowed passengers, crew and employees in DR airports.

Once airport and aeronautical operations were opened in the country, paralyzed since March 18, it was forbidden the entrance to the terminals of people who were not passengers, part of the crew of the aircrafts or personnel working in the facilities. One year later, all this has taken a completely different course. Another way of looking at things.

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