The 2016 Olympics have begun in Brazil drawing visitors from all over the world.
However, experts say the country’s airports are still struggling financially and the outlook for the remainder of the year is not a healthy one.
According to international credit rating agency FitchRatings, declines in demand for air travel in the region will continue to decline through 2016.
“All six of Brazil’s privatized airports continue to negotiate extensions with regulators on payment of concession fees that were due in June and July,” says FitchRatings. “That helped prevent a liquidity squeeze but does not change our negative outlook on those airports.”
The group says a weak economy recovery in 2017 will help with passenger volumes and slowly ease liquidity pressures on Brazil’s airports.
At the ASUTIL conference in June, Gustavo Fagundes, Dufry Director General for Brazil and Bolivia admitted the country has been in a very difficult situation, both politically and economically. “As business people, we are not here to pick sides,” he said, referring to Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff upcoming impeachment trial. “We look at how we’re going to cope with it. It is in the end of an economic cycle supported by a model that no longer works.”
However, Fagundes remained optimistic that the 2016 Olympic Games, with more than one million people expected to visit the region, will have a positive impact on Brazil. He said the new infrastructure will lay a foundation to generate more tourism in the future. “For the industry, failure is not an option. We have to get the best of the Olympics. Brazilians know how to host people. They are the first impression visitors have of the country.” Fagundes said Dufry arrival stores will be the first impression of the country, and the company will ensure that impression is a great one. “The welcome to Brazil comes from us,” he said.