Saturday, April 21, 2018
Aerolineas Argentinas: Feeder Carrier for Domestic Flights ? - Austral New Aircraft by end 2018 - Long-Haul Aircraft to Oceania - Intercon Routes to Stay
Aerolineas Argentinas President Mario Dell' Acqua spoke at the recent World Travel & Tourism Council conference held in Buenos Aires stating four particular points of interest:
* FEEDER AIRLINE PARTNER ?
With Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral steadily transitioning to larger aircraft, service to many of the Argentine domestic airports currently served by the group will no longer be commercially viable, not being able to produce enough passengers to operate larger aircraft profitably. To remedy this situation, the Aerolineas group is looking to organize a network of feeder routes with "a serious and solvent" carrier operating smaller aircraft, presumably connecting smaller cities to Buenos Aires and AR's Cordoba (COR) hub.
There has been speculation in at least one Argentine blog about which carrier this might be:
Flyest with its CRJ-200's is possible with its connection to the well-established Spanish commuter carrier Air Nostrum but Flyest is also a reincarnation of the now-defunct Sol Lineas Aereas that had a feeder agreement with Aerolineas' management under the previous Argentine presidency that was widely regarded as a sham.
LASA, the new Neuquen-based carrier that is scheduled to start service soon with EMB-145's is also possible.
Avianca Argentina with its two ATR-72-600's, with more expected to be added to the fleet soon, would seem like a natural candidate to be a feeder carrier fro Aerolineas, both because it is "serious and solvent", having a major corporation as its backer, and operating an appropriate type of aircraft for feeder operations
possessing both a moderate number of seats and fuel-efficient propeller engines.
* AUSTRAL NEW AIRCRAFT TYPE BY END 2018
Similar to what Aerolineas Argentinas has been saying recently, the new aircraft type that will eventually replace all of Austral's 26-strong E190 fleet is planned to have 180 seats, which appears to eliminate the E195 E2 new-generation jet from Embraer that is replacing the corresponding first generation E170/175/190/195 series of aircraft.
The first example of the new type will likely be flying for Austral before the end of 2018, which suggests that a contract to buy or lease the type will be agreed to soon. How long it will take to replace all 26 E190's is still unknown but previously it was suggested that the process would conclude in about 2-3 years time.
* NEW LONG-HAUL TYPE REQUIREMENT TO OPERATE PROFITABLY TO OCEANIA
Aerolineas is actively considering the new type that will replace its current long-haul fleet of 10 A330-200's and 2 A340-300's with a decision expected before the end of the year. A newly-revealed requirement is that the new type must be able to operate profitably to Australia and New Zealand, which would suggest that the aircraft chosen will need to fly long distances nonstop with a full payload.
* INTERCONTINENTAL ROUTES TO STAY
There has been much speculation in recent years that Aerolineas would dump its intercontinental routes due to their lack of profitability but the airline's flights from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Miami (MIA), New York Kennedy (JFK), Madrid (MAD) and Rome Fiumicino (FCO) will apparently continue.