Friday, June 24, 2016
NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Avianca Argentina affiliate - Plans to Start Service on 01Dec16 with Six 70-Seat Turboprops
More details recently emerged about Avianca's planned Argentina affiliate at the Aviation Day Conference held in Buenos Aires in late May.
Avianca CEO German Efromovich indicated that the new carrier, which has not been named yet, would start service on December 1, initially with eight 70-seat turboprops, probably ATR-72's or Q400's, on a route system centered on hubs at Cordoba (COR) and Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) plus a mini-hub at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), where the airline would feed Avianca's Colombia flights.
The airline, to be headed by CEO Carlos Carlunga, the former head of Mac Air Jet, which Avianca purchased to gain a foothold in Argentina, expects to have a fleet of 18 turboprops and 250-300 employees by 2018, making an investment of US$ 100 million in Argentina during that time.
Efromovich indicated that the carrier already has a route structure in mind that would be mostly secondary in nature, typically with 500 km long (312 miles) segments avoiding direct competition with the main carriers in Argentina (Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral and LATAM Argentina) by flying routes such as San Luis (LUQ) - Rio Cuarto (RCU) - Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP). One of the few exceptions to this strategy would likely be the Cordoba (COR) - Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) route, which is the most heavily-traveled domestic route in the country.
The new carrier expects that there will be a public route solicitation in August where it will apply to the ANAC Argentine aviation authority for the route rights it is seeking.
Efromovich indicated that the process of putting together operations manuals, requesting authorizations, acquiring certifications, etc. was underway but the Argentine authorities have since indicated that they have not received any requests from the new carrier yet.