Monday, March 20, 2017

NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Flybondi and Avianca Argentina Route Approvals put on hold by Argentine Ministry of Transportation

The Argentine ANAC aviation authority route approvals stemming from the December 27 route hearings were confirmed by the Ministry of Transportation for Andes Lineas Aereas, American Jet and Alas del Sur but not for Flybondi or Avianca Argentina.


Flybondi's approvals are on hold until the airline comes up with more concrete plans regarding the type of aircraft that it will fly and establishes its technical competence to operate.  At the time of this posting the carrier announced that it plans to start service with the 737-800.  No specific order or lease plans were announced but the company has apparently come to a customer support agreement with Boeing and plans to negotiate the acquisition of aircraft for the start of service in the second half of 2017.  

Julian Cook, Flybondi's CEO, further commented that the carrier will soon start negotiations for the acquisition of 50 Boeing 737 MAX 200's, which is a new variant of the 737 MAX series launched for Ryanair that can hold up to 200 seats.  
Avianca Argentina

Avianca Argentina's plans are suspended because the carrier established itself in Argentina through the purchase in 2016 of the air operator certificate of Macair, a small charter and contract carrier, owned by Argentine President Mauricio Macri's family.  There are suspicions on the part of some parties, generally those of the political opposition, that the president's family has retained a financial stake in the new carrier, which would be a potential conflict of interest since the president is the key figure in determining Argentine national air policy and could inappropriately favor Avianca Argentina.  An investigation is underway. 

Avianca CEO German Efromovich has questioned the delay and has reportedly threatened to sue the Argentine government if the delay goes on for an indefinite amount of time.  In any case, the airline plans to start flying charters immediately with its two recently delivered ATR-72-600's.  

La Nacion newspaper recently revealed that Avianca bought Macair (in early 2016) for US$ 10 million to be paid in installments by 2018, with the purchase including the transfer of Macair's Air Operator Certificate, the company's hangar at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) and five aircraft (presumably its fleet of five Jetstream 32's).       


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