Thursday, August 25, 2016

NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Amaszonas Uruguay receives Air Operator Certificate, planning Montevideo (MVD) - Aeroparque (AEP) flights 05Oct16


Amaszonas Uruguay received its Air Operator Certificate from the DINACIA Uruguayan aviation authority on 10Aug16 and the carrier immediately announced plans to start service on the Montevideo (MVD) - Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) "Air Bridge" on 05Oct16 using CRJ-200's 2x/daily. 

Amaszonas Uruguay is a division of parent Amaszonas Linea Aerea, which is based out of La Paz, Bolivia and also owns affiliate Amaszonas Paraguay.  

Amaszonas Linea Aerea (parent company)

Amaszonas started charter services with a small fleet of Cessna 208 Caravan and Fairchild Metro turboprop aircraft in 2000.  In 2012, the carrier acquired five 50-seat CRJ-200 regional jets to start scheduled service with the first route being La Paz (LPB) to Santa Cruz de la Sierra (VVI).  By 2014, Amaszonas announced plans to lease nine CRJ-200's and expand its route network to include 40 airports by 2017.   

Amaszonas Paraguay 

Amaszonas' Paraguayan affiliate was founded in 2015 with one CRJ-200, ZP-CRN (c/n 7866), transferred from the parent company operating from its Asuncion (ASU) base to Ciudad del Este (AGT) and Montevideo (MVD).      

Destinations

As of today, Amaszonas Bolivia and Amaszonas Paraguay together operate eight CRJ-200's serving six airports in Bolivia; with La Paz (LPB) and Santa Cruz (VVI) being hub / focus cities, plus Cochabamba (CBB), Rurrenabaque (RBQ), Sucre (SRE), and Uyuni (UYU).  International destinations include Asuncion (ASU), Ciudad del Este (AGT), Cuzco (CUZ), Iquique (IQQ) and Montevideo (MVD).  

The group's two Uruguayan routes are Santa Cruz (VVI) - Asuncion (ASU) - Montevideo (MVD) operated 7x weekly and Asuncion (ASU) - Montevideo (MVD) which is flown 3x weekly and soon expected to also go to 7x/weekly.   

Amaszonas Uruguay 

This carrier had its beginnings in April 2015 when the Amaszonas parent company bought BQB Lineas Aereas from Los Cipreses S.A., owner of the Buquebus Ferry Lines, which operates a near monopoly ferry service over the Rio de la Plata between Argentina and Uruguay.  

Los Cipreses was in the process of shutting down BQB's ATR-72 operation after approx. five years' service out of Uruguay and it was Amaszonas' intent to use this entity as a platform for starting an instant airline operation that would have the status of a Uruguayan carrier with the route rights out of Montevideo (MVD) that would come with that.  However, Amaszonas ran into unexpected legal complications with the ownership structure of BQB with the need to "extract" the BQB entity from Los Cipreses and replace the latter with Amaszonas as the new owner.  This process took the better part of the last year to complete.

Additional to the need to formally acquire ownership of BQB, Amaszonas Uruguay had to undergo the same multi-step process that Alas Uruguay went through to get a Uruguayan air operator certificate which it recently completed having successfully concluded "demonstration" or route-proving flights with the Uruguayan DINACIA aviation authority.    

Interestingly though, the Amaszonas Uruguay website home page shows as BQB Lineas Aereas complete with the former carrier's color scheme and logo.  

Amaszonas Uruguay so far has one CRJ-200, CX-SDU (c/n 7209), transferred from the parent company but it is set to grow its fleet to six CRJ-200's in the next couple of years.    

Amaszonas Group Marketing Strategy  

Amaszonas currently has modest hubs in La Paz (LPB) and Asuncion (ASU), which it plans to expand with flights to more destinations plus the addition of Montevideo (MVD) and Santiago (SCL) for four hubs in all encompassing a regional network consisting of mostly secondary cities in South America's "southern cone".  

Amaszonas Uruguay's first service will be from Montevideo (MVD) to Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), which will likely be its most lucrative route, even competing with Austral's 5x/daily service with its Embraer 190's and Alas Uruguay's 2x/daily flights with its 737-300's.

Plans are for Amaszonas Uruguay to add its own services from Montevideo (MVD) to Asuncion (ASU) and Santa Cruz (VVI) that would complement those already operated by its two sister carriers.

Flights from Montevideo (MVD) to Cordoba (COR) and Rosario (ROS) are also planned, which would probably be approved by the new Argentine government since it has approved nearly all new service requests by foreign carriers.  

A good example of providing connectivity between secondary cities would be a possible Montevideo (MVD) - Cordoba (COR) - Santa Cruz (VVI) route, which would tap into the large Bolivian population in the Cordoba region. 

Services to Santiago (SCL) and Florianopolis (FLN) and Porto Alegre (POA) are also expected. The latter will not be an easy task as the routes from Montevideo (MVD) to Chile and Brazil are already well served by LATAM, Sky Airlines, Gol and Azul.

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