Latin America, stranded by the coronavirus pandemic, has yet to take flight. But restrictions on the entry of passengers arriving by air vary greatly from country to country and are changing. Most airports in Latin America have not closed, even though their corridors are missing the hustle and bustle of tourists and other passengers, who used to crowd the boarding or baggage reception halls. Many of the region's air terminals remain operational, thanks to the work and grace of cargo transport. But this too is suffering from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Until now, most of the cargo capacity was offered by passenger flights. Several companies are flying their passenger planes without passengers, just to transport the cargo. Although there is some humanitarian and special flight traffic, this is far from regular air traffic. When can we expect passenger planes to take off and land as usual before the pandemic?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predictions are not very encouraging. "According to our forecasts, reaching the same level we had in 2019, before the COVID-19 crisis, is going to take at least until 2024. We know that, at the moment, Latin America is the most affected by COVID-19 in the world, and we think we are going to see a very slow return because it depends on the individual countries," says Markus Ruediger, in charge of communications for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Restrictions and authorizations

There are significant differences between States. While countries such as Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela currently have no regular international flights, others have never suspended all their flights, or are beginning to resume them. There are regular international flights to Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Costa Rica. Panama has also started to reopen a little bit and some Caribbean islands are offering international flights. Uruguay is the only Latin American country from which you can enter the European Union without restrictions because it is considered low risk.

In any case, uncertainty remains high in the commercial aviation sector. The demand has dropped extremely, and the main thing is the restrictions that each country applies to people arriving from abroad. Here is a brief overview of the rules applied in some Latin American countries, according to information available in press portals and airlines, subject to variations and updates.


Under the rules applied to stop the spread of the coronavirus, most domestic and international flights are suspended. Although a limited number of special flights have been allowed, generally speaking, all scheduled international flights have been suspended until September 1, 2020. Only Argentines and residents are allowed to enter the country, but they must comply with a 14-day quarantine.


Chilean citizens and resident aliens are allowed to enter. Upon arrival at the airport, they must present an affidavit and comply with a 14-day mandatory preventive isolation at the first point of entry into the country.


Flights to Colombia are suspended until August 31, 2020, except for humanitarian flights. Only nationals or residents, and persons with diplomatic passports, may enter the country and must maintain 14 days of quarantine. The aircraft crew must remain in quarantine until their next flight.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica not only allows entry to its citizens and residents but also to tourists from Canada and a long list of European countries, as of August 1. Tourists are required to have insurance that must cover medical expenses generated by COVID-19, a negative coronavirus test, and a "health pass".


Cuba allows entry to residents, who must undergo quarantine, and to passengers traveling to Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cayo Santamaria, Cayo Guillermo, or Cayo Cruz.


The country again allows international air travel to foreign tourists who have health insurance for the duration of their trip and a certificate that they are not infected with the coronavirus. International flights are prohibited from arriving at airports in some states such as Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraíba, Rondônia, and the Rio Grande do Sul.


Ecuador requires a certificate that the person does not have coronavirus, and a "declaration of the health of the traveler", in addition to a quarantine of 14 days.


Mexico requires for entry to the country a "Questionnaire for the identification of risk factors in travelers", which must be presented at immigration upon arrival to the country.


Flights to Peru are suspended, except for humanitarian or repatriation flights. Passengers will not be allowed to enter until August 31st, except for nationals and residents, who must comply with a 14-day quarantine.


Flights to Venezuela are suspended until September 12, 2020, except for humanitarian, medical, or repatriation flights.