Tuesday, March 10, 2015

BQB Lineas Aereas to Close After Alas Uruguay Starts Service ?

BQB Lineas Aereas ATR72-212A, CX-JCL (c/n 805) at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 20Mar11. This was the first aircraft that BQB took delivery of but will it soon be gone ?  (Phil Perry Photo) 

There have been rumors that the Buquebus ferry lines, owners of BQB Lineas Aereas, will shut down the carrier after Alas Uruguay starts service in the coming months.

While the company is privately held, the airline has apparently suffered
financial losses as would be inferred from route, aircraft and personnel cutbacks since the second half of 2014: 

* Airbus A319, CX-SAN (c/n 1703), left the fleet in December followed by the recent departure to Europe of ATR-72-212A, CX-LFL (c/n 570) leaving BQB with the two ATR-72's that it originally took delivery of back in 2010, CX-JCL (c/n 805) and CX-JPL (c/n 816) plus one more that joined the fleet in November 2013, CX-POS (c/n 636).  

* All Brazilian routes to Curitiba (CWB), Porto Alegre (POA) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) were abandoned in September leaving the carrier only with its Montevideo (MVD) - Buenos Ares Aeroparque (AEP) and Montevideo (MVD) - Asuncion (ASU) routes. 

* 55 staff were laid off (made redundant) as a result of the above cutbacks.  

Additionally, the airline has been dealing with legal problems related to irregularities in its bid on the seven company-owned ex-PLUNA CRJ-900's during an auction in late 2012.  Finally the entry into the market of Alas Uruguay, which will presumably have Uruguayan state political support as the unofficial successor to PLUNA, does not bode well for BQB.  

Sources:

http://www.siscoma.com.ar/online/aviacion/2015/avn150226/avn-150226.html
http://aerospotter.blogspot.com.ar/2015/02/salida-para-bqb.html
http://www.planespotters.net/Production_List/search.php?manufacturer=ATR&subtype=ATR-72&fleet=8613&fleetStatus=1

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