The spread of COVID-19 is taking a particularly heavy toll on Colombia and its major economic centers, including Bogota where PrimeAir has a significant presence.
Here in Latin America’s third biggest economy, the unemployment rate is still hovering near 16 percent as economic activity shrunk by 17 percent in the second quarter of 2020. Compared with where the country was during the first months of the pandemic, there is reason for optimism.
Yet there’s still a long way to go, provided that the pandemic is relatively short-lived and the community hangs onto hope—and each other.
“For months now, the government and private sector have been looking at ways to strengthen the national economy, get us through this crisis intact, and get back to the promise of a bright future,” says Jose Luis Vargas, Commercial Manager for PrimeAir in Bogota.
To promote stability and economic development in Colombia, he says the answer is to think globally and act locally. For PrimeAir and its parent company Prime Group, that means continually adapting to the ongoing changes impacting the global supply chain, pursuing emerging market opportunities worldwide, and focusing on what the company and its people do best—provide world-class logistics support to local industries including fruits, fresh fish, aircraft engines, and most importantly, flowers.
“We are truly proud to be able to play such an important part in sustaining business in these important sectors. By working closely with our vendors and cargo airline partners, we are ensuring that our local shippers and forwarders have unfettered access to the capacity they need to continue supporting the farmers, producers, and manufacturers in the region,” says Vargas.
Committed to Keep Flying
Certainly, the surest sign of PrimeAir’s commitment to the market, its customers, and the people of Colombia, was its dogged determination to maintain uninterrupted operations, even in the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus break out.
As the general sales & service agent (GSSA) for Atlas Air in Bogota, it fell upon PrimeAir to ensure their daily B747s continued providing lift in the market, at a time when most carriers abandoned their regular schedules and rotations to go after more profitable short-term business.
According to Vargas, “They depend on PrimeAir’s expert abilities and long-time boots on the ground, and we deliver.”
PrimeAir currently handles six B747-400 freighter flights per week between BOG and MIA (Tuesday through Sunday); and two additional segments that operate BOG-MIA-AMS (on Wednesdays and Saturdays). In September, PrimeAir celebrated its fourth year of operation with Atlas Air in Colombia.
Prior to the sudden and devastating impact of the pandemic on the global economy, Colombia was on a solid path of growth, expecting to top the list of “30 countries preferred for investment by foreigners” published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Relying on its rich natural resources, and other important solid sectors like fresh flowers and agriculture, Colombia was anticipating continued prosperity through 2020 and well beyond, a trend that observers remain confident will continue.
Key to the promise of national recovery is Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport, the largest airport in Latin America in terms of cargo traffic. This major economic engine offering vast air connectivity is a major hub in PrimeAir’s global network. By servicing its many customers here, the company is also facilitating local trade, supporting economic competitiveness, and helping to increase productivity.
“The air cargo industry is a powerful catalyst for economic prosperity at the local level, ensuring delivery of farmers’ products to markets around the world and helping to sustain jobs and economic opportunity,” Vargas added. Of course it’s not just perishables; PrimeAir also supports a growing number aircraft engine overhaul and maintenance stations, transporting many of the industry’s largest aircraft power plants into and out of Colombia.