After many negotiations during the last few months, the Uruguayan government and the ex-PLUNA workers that plan to start the PLUNA successor airline Alas-U, have agreed that the new airline will use three of the remaining seven ex-PLUNA CRJ-900's that have been parked unused for almost a year at Montevideo (MVD). The other four aircraft will be sold.
The government, which is responsible for payments on the aircraft, will give the PIT-CNT labor union a three year grace period to pay the US$ 46 million cost of the planes. As anticipated, the FONDES government development fund will provide US$ 15 million in seed-funding to Alas-U, which is expected to start flying before the end of the year in time for the southern hemisphere summer high season from Montevideo (MVD) to such destinations as Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), Cordoba (COR), Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG), Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU), Porto Alegre (POA), Curitiba (CWB), Santiago de Chile (SCL) and Asuncion (ASU).
One concern about the new start-up has been that the former PLUNA CRJ-900's would be subject to impoundment by legal authorities in neighboring countries formerly served by PLUNA where former workers of the airline are pursuing lawsuits against the defunct carrier. Law firms retained by the Uruguayan government assessed the risk of the aircraft being impounded as "high". Seeking to avoid this, the Alas-U employees will try to convince the labor unions representing former PLUNA employees in other countries, such as Argentina and Brazil, not to pursue legal action against Alas-U as that would only hurt fellow laborers. Most recently, the idea was to return all seven CRJ-900's to Bombardier and acquire a few CRJ-700's or -900's to replace them as a means of avoiding aircraft embargoes but that plan has apparently been discarded.
El Observador Uruguay 28Jun13, 24Jun13:
Aviacion News 16May13: