In the early morning hours of Thursday, April 16, Bolivian airline Amaszonas came to an agreement with BQB Lineas Aereas to purchase the latter's Uruguayan Air Operator's Certificate and the route rights that come with it from Montevideo (MVD) to Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) and Asuncion (ASU).
Amaszonas has also entered into negotiations with BQB to lease the carrier's three ATR-72-212A's presumably allowing Amaszonas to receive permission from the Uruguayan, Argentine and Paraguayan aviation authorities to start service on the above-mentioned routes, with a target date of Monday, May 4, since such service would merely be a continuation of the flights that BQB operated until recently. BQB technically "suspended" services on April 11 allowing the carrier to restart flights within 60 days with its current operating certificate as opposed to closing down which would have resulted in the cancellation of its AOC.Amaszonas has no intention of buying BQB's ATR-72-212A's because it already has a fleet of eight 50-seat CRJ-200's but the carrier expects that it will take up to six months to obtain all the proper authorizations for it to introduce the CRJ-200's between Montevideo (MVD) and Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) and Asuncion (ASU).
Amaszonas will retain 30 of 90 BQB's employees effective immediately to transition to Amaszonas plus 30 more to maintain the operating certificate for the ATR-72's (flight crews and maintenance staff) with the last 30 being laid off (made redundant) unless the carrier needs them for future growth, in which case they might be offered jobs again.
Amaszonas is a privately-owned carrier that has grown to help fill the vacuum left by the closing of Bolivian carriers Lloyd Aero Boliviano and Aero Sur in recent years. Other carriers that have started or grown in Bolivia in recent times include the government-owned Boliviana de Aviacion, the military airline TAM, and most recently EcoJet.
Amaszonas has grown in recent years to serve 40 cities in eight different countries, mostly from its Santa Cruz Viru Viru International Airport (VVI) base. This includes 12 cities in Bolivia and seven in surrounding countries; Montevideo (MVD), Asuncion (ASU), Iquique (IQQ) in Chile, Salta (SLA) in Argentina, Campo Grande (CGR) in Brazil, plus Arequipa (AQP) and Cuzco (CUZ) in Peru.
Long-term plans are for the carrier to invest $ 22 million to build up to a fleet of 16 CRJ-200's and a route network of 40 destinations by 2017, including several touristic points, such as Foz de Iguacu, Rio de Janeiro and the Galapagos Islands, building its Santa Cruz base into a major new South American hub.