The air transport in South America

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The air transport in South AmericaSome people prefer to travel by train, by car and some even by ship. Many of them choose these options to avoid picking up an airplane. But in South America, these options are limited and require a lot of time.

South America’s area is over 17 million km², it is almost twice the size of Europe . Therefore train, car or ship travel for long distances cease to be interesting when you have just a short time or this is limited.

It remains only to travel by plane. This is a very safe means of transport and has grown a lot in South America on the past years. Currently there are over 60 travel company offering commercial flights on the continent. Some regions such as the Andes and northern South America can only be accessed by plane, due to the terrain’s demographic and its dense forests. Therefore this means of transport is esencial for South America.


As previously explained, the bus trip and car not worth it for long distances.

PingoFly - From Rio de Janeiro to Lima

On the map you can see a very simple example: a trip from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) to Lima (Peru). The total distance between the two ciudades is over 5000 km.

The journey by car or bus (non-stop) is 66 hours. By plane this time is reduced to 5 hours.


In South America it is possible to find tickets at good prices, since the join of the low cost airlines companies in recent years.

Unfortunately many countries like Brazil, Chile and Uruguay have a high airport fee and taxes, which leaves the ticket cost a bit more expensive than it should be.

Anyway, the growing number of travel companies in the continent has increased competition and cheapened the cost. Over the past decade the cost of airfare dropped over 52% and the trend is to reduce even more.


Thanks to investments in technology and aircrafts even safer, the number of air accident involving commercial aircraft reduced every year. Data from the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives show that in the last three years the number of fatal accident fell by 39%.

Furthermore South America appears fourth in the list of continents with the most airplane accident of the Aviation Safety Network. See below the breakdown by continent of the number of fatal civil accidents from 1945 until 2013:

# continent accidents fatalities
1 North America 1023 13523
2 Europe 1020 23180
3 Asia 727 18985
4 South America 635 10839
5 Africa 405 7985
6 Central America 170 2319
7 Australasia 134 1529
8 international waters 84 2781

This shows that aviation is rather a safe means of transport, especially in South America.

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Category: General information