Thursday, July 5, 2012

ROUTE UPDATES: Asuncion new service by American Airlines & COPA Going Daily

Though not strictly a news story on Argentine or Uruguayan commercial aviation, the editor has decided to include these items because they are significant news for Paraguay and of likely interest to readers of this blog.

American Airlines recently announced that it will resume flights from Miami (MIA) to Asuncion, Paraguay (ASU) in November 2012 after a 10-year absence.  Previously, the carrier operated the service via Sao Paulo (GRU) but it was discontinued over a disagreement with the Paraguayan government involving obligatory commission payments to travel agents. 

The new flights will be non-stop, four times per week, using 757's.  As an incentive to reintroduce service, the Paraguayan aviation authority is exempting American from paying taxes related to air traffic control, ground-handling and parking of aircraft for a period of two years.  Similar measures will be offered to other airlines as an incentive to start service to Paraguay.  The country currently has no direct flights to the U.S. so the new service will make Paraguay much more accessible helping attract both business and leisure travelers to a country which currently has a very small tourism industry. 

On a related note, COPA Airlines recently increased frequncy on the flights it started from Asuncion (ASU) to its Panama City (PTY) hub earlier this year from four times weekly to daily.  The airline uses 737-800's on the route.  Paraguay was previously the only country of "the Americas" that COPA was not connecting through its PTY hub.   

Sources: Aviacion News 14Jun12, 21Jun12

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