The Latin American Civil Aviation Commission (LACAC) has announced a new multilateral agreement to liberalise air cargo services in the region.

    The agreement is already in effect and allows airlines from any of the ten member states who have signed it to provide all-cargo services between two other signatory states without restrictions on routes and capacity.

    Developed in partnership with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) two regional offices for the Americas (SAM and NACC), the agreement establishes expanded traffic rights and so-called ‘seventh freedom’ traffic rights.

    The ten signatory states are: Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

    ICAO secretary general Fang Liu commented: “Covid-19 has imposed significant constraints on the entire air transport industry and enterprises of all sizes are re-evaluating their business models. To remain flexible and responsive to countries’ needs, ICAO is adapting global regulatory approaches where this can aid pandemic response and global recovery efforts.”

    The agreement will remain in effect for one year – until 31 December 2021 – and can be extended for a further year, at the discretion of LACAC states.

    In addition to its immediate impacts in terms of pandemic response and recovery, ICAO said it encouraged other countries to view the agreement as a “significant step” in advancing the association’s long-term vision for international air transport liberalisation.

    Liu stated: “Our hope would be to see this regional development evolve into a more permanent and global agreement enabling more liberalised and sustainable 21st century air services.

    “In the near-term it should help increase the efficiency of vaccine distribution, and in the longer term it should enable air cargo and in particular e-commerce to play even more important parts in regional economic recovery and development. I strongly encourage other states and regions to take similar action.”