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BUENOS AIRES: November 20, 2017. A report from Oxford Economics says Argentina could be a "regional powerhouse" if the government invested in the country's infrastructure.

Commissioned by IATA, 2014 data shows that aviation and aviation-induced tourism contributes US$9.6 billion to Argentina's economy and supports 300,000 jobs, equivalent to 1.7 percent of the country's GDP.

IATA Argentina"Argentina's economy and people all benefit from the many contributions of aviation. Air transport supports international trade and commerce, foreign direct investment and tourism," said IATA regional vice president for the Americas Peter Cerda, speaking at an aviation meeting in Buenos Aires. "However, Argentina could be reaping far greater benefits from aviation if the right airport and air navigation infrastructure were in place and the country's taxes and charges were competitive with other countries in the region," he continued.

The Oxford Economics report determined Argentina has no direct air service to the world's 10 fastest growing countries: India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Angola and Nigeria.

Nor does it have any air links to the fastest growing cities: Surat, Ahmedabad, Ho Chi Minh City, Hà Noi, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kinshasa, Dhaka and Lagos.

This, according to the study, is due to years of underinvestment in Argentina's ground and air infrastructure that has resulted in unnecessarily long flight times, additional costs for travelers and airlines, and unneeded CO2 emissions.

"Argentina has all of the components to become a regional aviation powerhouse," said Cerda. "To start, its geography is vast, making internal air links vital. And the country has tremendous tourism potential with vibrant cities and cultural attractions, beautiful national parks and a growing economy. Argentina needs to allow aviation room to grow and deliver the many economic benefits that come from robust air connectivity."

A recent World Economic Forum survey indicated Argentina's air transport infrastructure quality ranks No.106 globally and 20 out of 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean for cost-competitveness.

Pictured left to right: Martin Eurnekian, president of ACI-LAC; Luis Felipe de Oliveira, executive director of ALTA; and Peter Cerdá, IATA regional vice president Americas with an MoU to improve air transport in Argentina.

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