The FONDES Uruguayan development fund approved in late May Alas Uruguay's application for a US$ 15 million loan that will be used to finance the lease of 3-4 737-300's by the new Uruguayan carrier. The loan will be granted in five installments totaling US$ 3.78 million subject to the carrier meeting certain development goals with the US$ 11.22 million balance being subject to financial requirements being met.
Soon after this, Uruguay's Aeronautical Commission approved Alas Uruguay's operational plan contingent upon the carrier meeting the above-mentioned objectives. Should Alas Uruguay fail in this regard the FONDES would discontinue funding and the Aeronautical Commission would rescind its approval halting the carrier's startup plans.
The next step is for Alas Uruguay to apply with the Uruguayan Aviation Administration (Dirección Nacional de Aviación Civil e Infraestructura) for certification to operate the 737-300's allowing the airline to finalize its lease agreement with the lessor.
Staff from the carrier have been writing manuals and making other preparations for the carrier's hoped-for start of service later this year as a charter airline followed by scheduled service from Montevideo to Asuncion, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and especially Buenos Aires Aeroparque with up to 35 weekly frequencies which was PLUNA's most profitable route. Routes to be added later would include Cordoba, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
With many of the airline's crews having flown 737-200's and a sole 737-300 while at PLUNA, the training process is simpler than if they had had no previous experience with the types.
Editor's Note: Alas Uruguay's plans call for it to compete head on with BQB Lineas Aereas on many routes but it seems doubtful that there is enough traffic on these city pairs to support two carriers, which looks especially doubtful for Alas Uruguay going up against the Buquebus Travel Group's financial strength. Also, getting approval for anywhere near 35 weekly frequencies to Buenos Aires will be impossible given the Argentine government's protectionism of Aerolineas Argentinas.