Sunday, January 28, 2018
NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Flybondi started first Argentina LCC service as planned on 26Jan18
Flybondi flew the first genuine Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) scheduled service by an Argentine airline on Friday, 26Jan18 when its sole 737-800 to date, LV-HKS (c/n 33821/1698), took off from Cordoba (COR) at 3:26pm local time operating flight FO5432 to Iguazu (IGR).
The aircraft landed in Iguazu (IGR) on schedule at 5:00pm but did not depart back to Cordoba (COR) until 79 minutes later at 6:19pm, exceeding by a wide margin its scheduled turnaround time of 30 minutes, presumably because this was the first-ever flight of the airline and the ground staff will need experience to successfully execute quick turns.
Flybondi operated its second round-trip the following day, Saturday, 27Jan18, when it flew from Cordoba (COR) to Bariloche (BRC), this time with a 60-minute turn instead of the planned 30 minutes.
Fast "Turns" = More Flights & Revenue
Fast on-the-ground turnaround times are essential to the operation of Low-Cost Carriers, allowing them to operate more sectors per day, thereby generating more revenue and making more efficient use of the fixed monthly cost of leasing an aircraft or paying off its purchase loan.
Normally, one would presume that Flybondi will reach its goal of 30-minute turns, but fast turns of aircraft the size of a 737-800 are unprecedented in Argentina, with 60-75 minutes being more typical so the carrier perhaps will face a challenge in this respect.
One Aircraft Fleet
Another challenge for Flybondi, at least in the short run, will be operating its growing route system with just one aircraft. As it is, the aircraft experienced a technical issue on Tuesday, January 23, when a demonstration flight was forced to make a precautionary return to Cordoba (COR) after just 12 minutes of flight. Any "mechanicals" experienced in scheduled service will result in multiple flight cancellations, at least in the airline's first few weeks.
Flybondi is currently scheduled to take delivery of its second 737-800 on 08Feb18 with three more aircraft due in the coming months.