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CEO-yê JetSmart Airline-ê li ser hilweşandin û hilweşîna COVID

Lori Ranson:

I think first off, I know that Amerîkaya Latîn is taking backtrack lately in terms of Chile has had to institute an international shutdown for a month. Brazil’s cases are rising. There are other places in the region, that are battling second wave. So I guess in light of those developments, how do you see the recovery progressing over the next six months to a year?

Estuardo Ortiz:

Thank you, Lori. And thank you for having me as well, and the CAPALive program. And you’re right, the week I’ve seen a process in the first quarter of ups and downs in South America. And in fact, in some markets, coming backwards for whom Brazil has seen numbers that are actually below the ones in September 2020. So, I think the recovery is going to be laid out by three key factors. The first one is travel restrictions. The second one is, consumer confidence and economic recovery. And you’ll see that it’s going to be quite different, across the region as the three factors play out, depending on each of the countries conditions. The case on Chile today, it’s indeed in the month of April, quite drastic because 96% of population can’t travel and the borders are closed. We did have a first quarter in JetSmart that was around 76% of the flights that we were flying in the first quarter of 2019.

So it wasn’t that bad. But I think it’s going to be, a second quarter, probably lower than the first quarter in terms of total capacity. The good news is that, the vaccination program is making, really good advances and there are expectations to have it reaching 80% of population by, the end of June. If that’s the case and the restrictions are removed, my impression is that, we could see a fourth quarter in 2020, reaching 90% plus of the capacity of 2019. But it will all depend on those factors. As the remaining of the region, it will depend a lot on the vaccination program and the measures that the government state, now that we see some more trends of new variants and things like that, that caused governments to be poorly, very cautious on the pandemic.

Lori Ranson:

So it seems like, before this latest set of developments that Chile’s domestic market was recovering at a pretty swift pace and could be poised to resume that, once things are sorted out. Is that a way to look at that?

Estuardo Ortiz:

JetSmart was recovering fairly quicker in the sense compared to the previous years. But the market had recovered around 60% in domestic. Bear in mind that international has been always across the region around 25 to 30. So when we talk about recovery, we need to keep in mind, the tremendous difference and the speed of recovery of those two markets.

Lori Ranson:

Right. Before, some countries went back down into lockdown. If you will, I know that the trend was domestic markets were expected to recover at a faster rate, but JetSmart actually before the restrictions launched a lot of international regional destinations, especially to Colombia. And if you could just share with us what drove that decision-making for the airline?

Estuardo Ortiz:

Sure. You’re right. We have seen in our markets, the BFR routes, business families, from their relatives. They were resilient through the pandemic and we can focus on reactivating international destinations, such as KALI or Tokyo, very successfully. Leisure and business, I believe have been lagging behind on international. So currently, we were flying in first quarter around 42% or for usually international network, rather than 75 on domestic. I do believe however that, Leisure will drive the demand as restrictions come out. We expect to see pent up demand actually, when that happens. So we are going to be ready, to jump on those opportunities. And the post could be the market to reopen international leisure destinations, a place like Brazil for you, for instance, that have been very difficult during that, but at the past year. But that will be very interesting. I believe people still are, people and they want to travel more so than ever before, to rest, go on vacations, to visit the family relatives. So, when that happens, international routes will have probably recovering quicker and all those back again to the restrictions as well.

Lori Ranson:

Right. Can you give us an update on Argentina as well? There’ve been some changes in the marketplace there during the last year. So how does JetSmart view its position within the country going forward?

Estuardo Ortiz:

We are pleased with Argentina’s performance of the operation today. However, the country remains a still at the lower end of the recovery of 33% of capacity before the pandemic. Regard of the matter, is that there were seven airlines and now we’re only three. So utilization, is up around 88% to pre-COVID of the aircraft. We are also seeing important increases, and the unit revenue in the country, as well. We just moved our operations of Bay 322 Aeroparque in Buenos Aires. And recently launched Juni routes. We’ll be starting in June [foreign language 00:06:52]. So generally, I think it’s got a good prospect for us in the following months.