IATA said regional connectivity would be affected if Colombia’s capital had two airports.

Expanding Bogota’s El Dorado airport would be a better economic option than building a second hub, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.

Reaffirming its position on plans to build a second airport which would handle some of the commercial passenger and cargo traffic, IATA said connectivity in the region would be affected if the Colombian capital had two airports.

In a statement, IATA said: “The discussion about building a second airport has recently reopened. However, relocating part of civil aviation operations would be detrimental to El Dorado's competitiveness with respect to other key airports in the region.”

In order for Colombia to fully reap aviation’s socio-economic benefits, it is essential that El Dorado be expanded

Peter Cerda, IATA Regional Vice President for the Americas, said increasing the size of the main hub at El Dorado is the most suitable option to meet the predicted growing demand of the next two decades.

“As the country’s—and one of the region’s—main connecting airport, El Dorado plays a crucial role in providing the necessary connectivity,” said Cerda.

IATA analysis shows that at present, aviation contributes almost $7.5 billion to Colombia’s GDP. 

With the right economic conditions for air transport, it says that figure could rise to at least $12.5 billion by 2037.

“In order for Colombia to fully reap the socio-economic benefits which aviation can provide to the country and its people, it is essential that its main hub airport El Dorado in Bogota be expanded to handle the predicted demand in the coming 20 years,” added Cerda.

IATA said that the expansion of El Dorado could be facilitated by moving non-commercial air traffic that relies on the hub to an alternate location while work takes place.

That move would allow for an “enlarging of existing passenger and cargo facilities” as well as “improving the airport’s operational stability.”

An additional terminal and runway could possibly be built at the current site, it added.