Fukuda on embracing Latin America’s opportunities

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Alyne Fukuda on embracing Latin America’s opportunities


Fukuda is HAE Group’s country manager, Brazil. HAE Group has offices in Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

ACW: How has business been for HAE in South America?

Fukuda: The last couple of years have given us a number of opportunities. Our partner airlines continue to expand their route network despite the challenges over the last couple of years with Covid. This presents us with an opportunity to expand our network for sales in Peru, Paraguay and Colombia.

To supplement other airline networks, we have been highly active in the charter market with import solutions from Asia and exports to the rest if the world.

ACW: What trends have you observed in the region during the pandemic? 

Fukuda: The Covid-19 pandemic has forced companies to think outside the box and question their original business model as some trends, as the move towards internet-based business models, leaner cost structures or a flexible-cost approach.

Other relevant trends, such as digitalisation and technology-driven services, which facilitate remote activities, and cyber security, have been given special attention in the region.

ACW: Which trends do you think are here to stay?

Fukuda: E-commerce is a trend to stay from now on. During coronavirus-driven lockdowns and travel restrictions, customers increasingly turned to ordering goods online. As that demand grew, so did the need for timely delivery of those packages to countries’ farthest corners. E-commerce is a growing trend in Latin America where people were forced to make shopping online and started to like of this kind of experience.

ACW: How would you gauge market confidence in Latin America? 

Fukuda: Latin America, in addition to being a developing continent, suffers a lot from its unstable economic policies, affecting the confidence of the foreign market for investment in the region.

Structural challenges and non-standard business practices also make the market challenging.

 ACW: Would you agree that Latin America has a lot of untapped market potential?

Fukuda: Latin America is a potential market for several business sectors but it suffers from problems, such as lack of innovation and inadequate infrastructure, especially in the supply chain.

The pandemic brought the logistics sector an opportunity for expansion, with a leverage in virtual purchases, as well as the increase in the opening of online stores, causing the delivery of products to grow more and more.

However, some countries suffer from logistical inefficiency in operations, as many places need better conditions for highways and other access routes to the consumer for the final mile.

ACW: Has the spread of Omicron affected operations in the region?

Fukuda: The new variant caused the opening of the economy to stunt. There were more flight cancellations, due to lack of crew, an increase in hospital admissions, and new government restrictions. 

ACW: Going forward, what do you see as the biggest challenge to aviation in the region?

Fukuda: The biggest challenge for aviation is to grow during the pandemic. The airline industry is facing an uneven recovery from the pandemic. Regions with large domestic markets, faster vaccination rollout, and less restrictive government policy will continue to recover faster than the other parts of the world.