Paraguay reports 23% growth at Asunción airport in 2010
Paraguay can in some ways be considered as the Finland of South America. Although around 20% bigger than the Nordic state its low population density of around 16 people per square kilometre is almost identical (and similar to New Zealand). However, while Finland’s airports handled over 16 million passengers in 2010, Paraguay’s two commercial airports handled less than one million. This year the country, with a population of around 6.5 million people, is celebrating 200 years of independence, having been run by the Spanish until 1811.
Silvio Pettirossi International Airport (named after a famous local aviator) which serves the capital of Asunción recorded a record number of passengers in 2010 with traffic up 23% and breaking through the 700,000 mark for the first time. In the last six years passenger numbers have almost doubled.
Passenger numbers peak in July and around the turn of the year.
TAM Paraguay is leading carrier
The leading airline in the country is TAM Paraguay which operates a fleet of just three A320s. It offers daily flights to Ciudad Del Este (AGT) Paraguay’s only other airport with commercial, scheduled air services, as well as non-stop international services to Buenos Aires (Argentina), Cochabamba (Bolivia), Santiago (Chile) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The airline also offers one-stop flights to Rio De Janeiro (Brazil) and Santa Cruz Viru Viru (Bolivia).
Other carriers serving the Asunción market are:
- Aerolineas Argentinas: to Buenos Aires (Argentina)
- Aerosur: to Santa Cruz Viru Viru (Bolivia)
- GOL/Varig: to Curitiba (Brazil) and Buenos Aires (Argentina)
- Pluna: to Montevideo (Uruguay)
- TACA: to Lima (Peru)
In mid-December Copa Airlines will begin non-stop flights from Panama City, operated four times weekly with 737-700s. According to several sources it seems that Iberia may re-start services to Asunción from Madrid next February. It already serves several destinations non-stop in South America including Bogota, Lima, Montevideo, Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo.