More than 1.2 million people took to the air in Chile in January 2011 according to statistics gathered by the Civil Aeronautic Board, representing a 14.2 percent increase over January 2010. It also marks the fourth consecutive month with numbers peaking over the 1 million mark.
Internal flights constituted over 50 percent of the total commercial air traffic, rising by 17.9 percent from the year before, while international travel grew by 10.3 percent to reach more than 580,000 passengers flying to or from destinations overseas. LAN Airlines dominated the international market, accounting for 46.8 percent of international flights, trailed by the second largest carrier in the field, TAM, with 5.1 percent.
Over 660,000 passengers flew within Chile in January, a market also dominated by LAN airlines. Combined, LAN Airlines and LAN Express accounted for 76.2 percent of domestic travel, followed by Sky Airlines at 18.7 percent, and smaller market shares held by PAL Airlines, and Aerovías DAP, which services the far southern reaches of Patagonia and the Chilean Antarctic Territory.
As the first month of high summer, January typically sees some of the year’s highest air traffic, with international visitors arriving in time for the best weather and Chileans within the country heading out of the major cities for vacation.
Cargo traffic in the air saw more modest growth in the first month of 2011. In fact, domestic cargo traffic decreased by 11.5 percent, while international cargo traffic increased by nearly five percent. Combined, domestic and international cargo totaled 24,288 tons, a three percent growth over January 2010.