Thursday, January 31, 2013

Argentina denies Uruguay use of shorter "Papix" Air Route between Montevideo (MVD) and Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP)

At least since early last year, when the Leadgate management group was still running PLUNA, Uruguay has requested Argentina to authorize use of the "Papix" air route between Montevideo (MVD) and Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP).

This route is 53 nautical miles shorter than the existing route which requires the airline to overfly Argentine territory for a longer period of time.  This has resulted in greater fuel consumption and higher Argentine overflight charges totaling some US$ 1.4 million per year for the ex-PLUNA.

The "Papix" route which would route aircraft directly from Colonia, Uruguay thirty miles across the Rio de la Plata to Buenos Aires would save 3-5 minutes flying time with lower fuel consumption and much less time overflying Argentine territory. 

The Uruguayan aviation authorities at the Civil Aviation Directorate (DINACIA) thought that they had a preliminary agreement for this new routing but Argentina recently decided not to allow it, apparently to avoid losing most of the overflight charges that they are now collecting. 

The "Papix" route was to be one of the first steps in the restructuring of airspace over Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay that is to be designed and implemented by an unnamed American company with the idea of making air routings shorter and more efficient and economical.   

Source:  El Observador Uruguay 23Jan13

Monday, January 28, 2013

ROUTE UPDATE LAN replacing 787 with 767-300ER on Santiago (SCL) - Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE‏) Route

The worldwide fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft has been grounded due to battery fires on board two aircraft, the cause of which has not been determined yet, meaning that the possibility of fires on other aircraft remains a real danger.

Like other operators, LAN has grounded its three 787's until the problem has been defined which could be many months or even longer if the lithium ion batteries currently being used need to be replaced with more conventional batteries and the battery compartment needs to be redesigned, as well.

At the time of the grounding, LAN was flying the 787 from Lima (LIM) to Los Angeles (LAX) and Santiago (SCL) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) too.  The Chilean carrier is reportedly using the 767-300ER as the replacement aircraft on the latter route.   


Sunday, January 27, 2013

ROUTE UPDATE: Air Europa announces Madrid (MAD) - Montevideo (MVD) Service Effective 03Jun13

Air Europa announced on 24Jan13 that it will start flying from Madrid (MAD) to Montevideo (MVD) three times weekly effective 03Jun13 with 299-seat A330-200 aircraft, replacing the Iberia A340 service being suspended in late March.

Flights will initially operate from Madrid (MAD) to Montevideo (MVD) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, returning to Spain on the following days; Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  Assuming that bookings are healthy, the Spanish airline would increase the service to five weekly flights in the "near future".

A determining factor in Air Europa's decision might have been the decision just this past Monday 21Jan13 by ANCAP, Uruguay's national fuel company, to reduce the price of Jet A1 fuel to the same level of neighboring countries. The higher price weighed especially heavily on operators of long-distance routes, such as Montevideo (MVD) - Madrid (MAD) and reportedly played a role in Iberia's decision to drop the route. 

Uruguayan authorities are pleased not only by the new service but also the backing of the Grupo Globalia tour operator group that moves a lot of leisure traffic and will hopefully bring more European tourism to Uruguay.

Editor's Comment:  Will this mean that BQB Lineas Aereas' planned new service from Montevideo (MVD) to Madrid (MAD) with 767-300's will be suspended ? 

Source:   El Observador 24Jan13 


Friday, January 25, 2013

FLEET UPDATE: BQB Lineas Aereas Receives 3rd ATR-72, CX-LFL - Photos

BQB Lineas Aereas ATR-72-212A, CX-LFL, newly arrived at Montevideo (MVD) on 22Jan13. The new "flying saucer"-like terminal which opened a few years ago is in the background. (Amilcar Carriqui Photo)

CX-LFL in another view at Montevideo (MVD) with the old terminal in the background. (Amilcar Carriqui Photo)

The excellent Uruguayan aviation blog, Aviacion Civil Uruguaya, reports that BQB Lineas Aereas' third ATR-72, CX-LFL (c/n 570), a -212A model, arrived at Montevideo (MVD) Carrasco International Airport on 22Jan13.  The aircraft previously flew for Air Nostrum since its delivery to the Spanish carrier in 1999.

BQB is using the new aircraft to serve new routes that the airline has taken over from the now-defunct PLUNA, such as Montevideo (MVD) - Asuncion (ASU).

Sources: Aviacion Civil Uruguaya

Photos:  Amilcar Carriqui via Martin Blanco of Aviacion Civil Uruguaya

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Argentine Government Subsidies to Aerolineas Argentinas Grow in 2012 to Cover Increased Losses

Argentine government subsidies to Aerolineas Argentinas grew to nearly US$ 1 billion (thousand million in Spanish) in 2012 to cover the national carrier's increased losses.  

Aerolineas' President Mariano Recalde said two years ago that the carrier would break even in 2012 and he projected profits in the following years but that appears very unlikely now.  2011 was viewed as an exceptional year because of the ashes from the Chilean volcano that interrupted operations off and on over several months provoking losses but there were no such extraordinary circumstances in 2012, though the Argentine economy was not as strong this past year as in 2011.  

According to Aviacion News, subsidies to Aerolineas totaled almost as much as the airline's revenue from tickets and cargo operations in 2012, which, if true, means that the carrier's revenue only covers half of its expenses, a highly unprofitable situation !     

The airline carried a record number of passengers in 2012, with traveler number 7 million for the year arriving at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on 27Dec12 to a festive greeting by Recalde and a group of company representatives.  However, according to La Nacion, Aerolineas' losses grew even faster than the growth in passenger numbers with a 16.3% increase in passengers between the two years but the per passenger subsidy growing from 482 pesos in 2011 to 682 pesos in 2012, a 42% increase.  Some of that could be explained by the Argentine peso losing value against the US dollar during the past year, but that only amounted to about 10% at the official exchange rate.   

Sources: Aviacion News 20Dec12
             La Nacion 27Dec12 

Monday, January 21, 2013

FLEET UPDATE: Andes Receives Two More ex-Austral MD-83's, LV-BGV & LV-BHH

Andes MD-83 LV-BTH (c/n 49952/1934) taxis 
at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 17Sep10.

Andes Lineas Aereas recently took delivery of two more ex-Austral MD-83's  from leasing company Sky Holding:

MD-83, LV-BGV (c/n 49904/1680) which was originally delivered to Finnair in 1990 as OH-LMV on 27Dec12.

MD-83, LV-BHH (c/n 49741/1630) which was originally delivered to Finnair in 1989, as OH-LMU on 08Jan13.   

The carrier had previous taken delivery of two other ex-Austral MD-83's, LV-AYD (c/n 53015/1818) and LV-BAY (c/n 49284/1209), with the latter now being stored.

According to Aviacion News, Andes now has four MD-80's in service operating scheduled routes serving its home base Salta (SLA), Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), Jujuy (JUJ) and Puerto Madryn (PMY) plus numerous charter flights to vacation destinations. 

Sources:  Aviacion News 20Dec12

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Aerolineas Argentinas A340 Wing Clips Tail of Air France 777-300 in Miami

On 17Jan13 at 5:46 pm local time an Aerolineas Argentinas A340-300 that had just arrived at Miami International Airport from Buenos Aires clipped an Air France 777-300 that was getting ready to depart with the Argentine aircraft's left wingtip colliding with the French airliner's tail.  Passengers reported a booming sound and the aircraft shook but there were no injuries. 

The passengers of the Aerolineas plane were allowed to disembark normally but the flight operated by the French airliner was cancelled with its 350 passengers deplaning for rebooking on other flights.  The scene at the Air France ticket counter was reportedly chaotic with tempers flaring and there were even physical confrontations as hundreds of travelers had to wait in line for alternative travel plans.

Both planes were taken out of service for repairs and an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the collision.   

The aircraft involved in the collision were:

Aerolineas Argentinas A340-312, LV-BMT (c/n 48) which is an early example of the type that was originally delivered to Air Mauritius in 1994 and also saw service with Air Jamaica and Air Canada before joining the Aerolineas fleet in 2007.  

Air France 777-328ER, F-GZNI (c/n 39973/924) which was delivered to the French carrier on 01Apr11.  


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas: Further Fleet Plans

Austral EMB-190 at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 22Jan11.  The  airline might acquire another four of the type in the near future. (Phil Perry Photo)

Further details to the November 22 posting in this blog regarding Aerolineas Argentinas' fleet plans:

The airline is negotiating with ILFC to acquire four ex-Malaysian Airlines A330-200's as part of a plan to eventually have six of the aircraft type.  

Plans to exercise options on four more EMB-190's for sister carrier Austral are being analyzed though this would require more credits from the Brazilian government. 

The airline recently received a proposal from a leasing company to add two more 737-800's to its fleet.

There are tentative plans to retire four A340-200's in the near future, including  aircraft LV-BIT and LV-BMT. 

If all goes according to plan, Aerolineas Argentinas' fleet in the next couple of years will be comprised of the Embraer 190, 737-700 and -800, A330-200 plus the A340-200 and A340-300.   

Source:  Aviacion News 20Dec12   

Saturday, January 5, 2013

ROUTE UPDATES: BQB, MacAir & Sol New Service

BQB Lineas Aereas, Macair and Sol Lineas Aereas recently announced new services as follows:

Airline   Routing                                                            Eff           Equip                                                                                  
BQB      Asuncion (ASU) - Punta del Este (PDP)                   27Dec12   ATR-72-212A  2x/week
Sol       Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Villa Gesell (VLG)   01Jan13   Saab 340      6x/week
Macair  Resistencia (RES) - Asuncion (ASU)                       15Jan13   Jetstream     3x/week

The BQB flights will serve the tourist market traveling from Paraguay to the Uruguayan beach resort of Punta del Este on an experimental basis until 17Feb13. 

The Sol flights will also be a summer service to the beaches of Villa Gesell and neighboring Pinamar.

The Macair flights are part of a planned expansion into Paraguay that will likely also include domestic flights within the country.

Aviacion News  20Dec12 & 27Dec12

Thursday, January 3, 2013

PLUNA Replacement Airline - Business Plan Viability Doubted

Doubts regarding the viability of the airline that the former PLUNA employees are proposing have come to light. 

The Uruguayan government believes that the plan's revenue projections are too optimistic and anticipated costs are "detached from reality".  One report estimates total employee compensation costs at an average of US$ 4,000 per employee per month, a small fortune in Uruguay.  

Also, one of the key provisions of the new carrier's business plan is that the Uruguayan government would assume the debt payments on the seven ex-PLUNA CRJ-900's remaining in government hands for two years, a US$ 34.4 million obligation that the government does not want to assume.   

Finally, the employees would need to get the new airline operational within 180 days according to the conditions of the government legislation but there are doubts that all of the necessary preparations, authorizations and formalities can be completed on time, which include forming a "civil non-profit society" and presenting documentation and supporting data to the Civil Aviation & Aeronautical Infrastructure Directorate (DINACIA) and the Ministry of Transport & Public Works (MTOP).  


El Observador Uruguay 28Dec12

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

ROUTE UPDATES: Macair to fly Resistencia (RES) to Asuncion (ASU) & Internal Paraguayan Routes

Macair Jetstream 32EP, LV-ZRL, (c/n 928) with no titles at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 01Oct10.  (Phil Perry Photo)

According to Paraguayan press reports, Macair, the Argentine aircraft charter and airline subservice company based out of Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), will start flying from Resistencia (RES) in northeastern Argentina to the Paraguayan capital Asuncion (ASU) three-times weekly, effective 15Jan13.  

The start of service to Asuncion (ASU) is intended to be a first step into the Paraguayan market with the company expected to start flying domestically from Asuncion (ASU) to Ciudad del Este (AGT) in eastern Paraguay near the "Triple Frontier" area where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay all meet, plus Asuncion (ASU) to Encarnacion (ENO) in the southern part of the country, near Posadas, Argentina.

Further services might be operated from Asuncion (ASU) to Pedro Juan Caballero (PJC) in north central Paraguay and Saltos del Guairá in the northeastern region of the country. 

Macair has a fleet of business jets, including Learjets, available for charter plus at least four active 19-seat Jetstream 32EP's that it operates for AeroChaco and LAER (Lineas Aereas Entre Rios) out of the provinces of the same names located north of Buenos Aires.  The company will presumably also use the Jetstreams on the new Paraguayan routes.