Thursday, November 29, 2012

Aeroparque - No More General Aviation Flights effective 30Nov12

The Argentine Civil Aviation Administration recently announced that all general aviation traffic and commercial flights operated by aircraft with fewer than 31 seats will be banned from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), effective 30Nov12.  The only exception to this will be official government flights, such as the president's aircraft, and declared emergencies.  Air taxi companies and FBO's (fixed base operators) that are based at Aeroparque will be allowed to operate out of AEP until 31Jul13.  

This means that small airlines such as Aerochaco and LAER that use 19-seat Jetstream 32's will have to move their operations north to San Fernando (FDO) if they continue service at all.  Sol operates Saab 340A's and 340B's that have between 34-37 seats so they meet the 31-seat cutoff and will presumably be allowed to continue operating from AEP.

The reason behind the measure is the "saturation" of the airport from an air traffic standpoint since regional international flights were introduced at AEP in early 2010 plus the growth of domestic flights at the airfield in recent years.  

Editor's Comments:

I have been to Aeroparque many times in recent years to spot and take photos and far from perceiving the airport to be a very busy place it has struck me as having relatively little traffic for one of two main airports of a major cosmopolitan city.  

Compared to some other major one-runway airports, Aeroparque does not seem especially busy. 8.25 million passengers travelled through AEP in 2011 and the airport has 295 daily movements by commercial airlines.  By comparison, San Diego (SAN) had 16.8 million passengers in 2010 and has 342 daily commercial flights and London-Gatwick (LGW) had 33.6 million travellers in 2011 and has 550 daily flights, nearly double Aeroparque's.  I suspect the difference is explained by greater investment in equipment and infrastructure. Rather than turn away aircraft, it would be better to invest more in AEP, which is an important contributor to the Argentine economy.      

               Wikipedia re Sol Saab 340's, SAN, and LGW 

Monday, November 26, 2012

ROUTE UPDATE: TACA to Start Flying A330's on its Lima (LIM) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) Route on 15Dec12 reports that TACA will start flying the Airbus A330-200 once-daily on its already existing Lima (LIM) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) route.  The airline currently flies A321's between the two cities twice-daily using this aircraft type for both services.

This will be the first wide-body passenger service by TACA in at least twelve years.  The carrier flew six 767-200's and three 767-300's in passenger service from about 1985 to 2000 and several A300F freighters at least during 1999-2001.

The AviancaTACA group has at least nine A330-200's in service.  They are powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 700's and have seating for 252 passengers; 30 in business class and 222 in economy. 

The flight schedule for the A330-200 service will be:  

Flight       Routing                                Dep      Arr         Frequency

TA965      Lima - Buenos Aires Ezeiza      2158     0433+1   Daily
TA966      Buenos Aires Ezeiza - Lima      0629     0914       Daily 

Sources: via Eric Trum

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Aeroparque - Only for Aerolineas Argentinas & Austral ?

Catching up on some news from the last month:  Aerolineas Argentinas' management is reportedly considering proposing that Buenos Aires' convenient downtown airport Aeroparque (AEP) be reserved for the exclusive use of itself and sister-carrier Austral.  This proposal has been named "Plan Aeroparque".

Other airlines currently flying from Aeroparque include LAN Argentina, LAN (of Chile), Gol, TAM, BQB, Andes, Sol, LADE, plus Aerochaco and Lineas Aereas Entre Rios (both carriers' services operated by MacAir Jetstream 32's).  Under the plan, the jet operators; both LAN's, Gol, TAM, Andes, and LADE would all move their services to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) with the turboprop carriers; BQB, Sol, Aerochaco and LAER moving to San Fernando (FDO), a smaller airport to the north. 

According to the Argentine business website, there are currently 295 daily airline operations (both takeoffs + landings) at Aeroparque (AEP) broken down by the following carriers:

Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral: 190
LAN Argentina 55
Sol Lineas Aereas 18
LAN (Chile) 6
Gol 6
Andes 4
Aerochaco 4

These vary by day of week and the editor of this blog believes that LAER also has about 6-12 flights per week.

The main motivation of the plan is to give AR/AU a competitive advantage by being the only carrier flying out of AEP, which is located in the city of Buenos Aires itself and is much more convenient than EZE or FDO, both located about 20 miles (32 km) of the city center.  This would allow AR/AU to raise airfares which would help turn around the US$ 2 million daily deficit that the airline is currently accumulating.

Aerolineas' management justifies the proposed move as a way of compensating for the flights that it operates to unprofitable destinations, while the private carriers only serve cities where they know they can make money.

The plan has not been put on paper or made public yet but it would likely be poorly received by the Brazilian carriers especially, with the likely consequence that AR/AU would not be allowed to fly from AEP to Brazil and would have to move their operations to EZE along with Gol and TAM, thereby cancelling out any competitive advantage that AR/AU sought to gain at least on those routes.  Also, if LAN Argentina were forced to move all of their operations to EZE, they would lose most of their passengers and incur heavy losses, with the parent airline likely shutting down its Argentine affiliate.  The resulting loss of hundreds of jobs would likely have to be absorbed by AR/AU for political reasons further deepening the carrier's already heavy financial losses.

Source: 17Oct12  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas 2017 Fleet Plan

Aerolineas Argentinas 737-700, LV-BZA, (c/n 32674/1952), taxis at Aeroparque  on 11Oct12 in Skyteam colors.

Details have emerged recently about Aerolineas Argentinas' future fleet plans.  

The airline's fleet presently consists of  20 EMB-190's (operated by sister-carrier Austral), 26 737-700/800's, and 11 A340-200/300's.  In the short-term Aerolineas is looking to possibly acquire four A340's from Iberia and up to five used A330's for service between Argentina and northern Latin America and the United States.  By 2017, it plans to have 22 EMB-190's, 22 737-700's, 22 737-800's plus possibly an altogether new longer-range type as Guillermo Rudaeff, vice-president of business development and alliances at Aerolineas, told Flight Global that the carrier has had preliminary talks with Airbus and Boeing about acquiring A350-900's or 787-9's by the end of the decade.

Editor's Comments:  

With Aerolineas continuing to lose approx. US$ 2 million per day with no end in sight, one has to ask where all the new 737's would be operated to ?  

Also, with the biggest money losers for AR being by far the long-distance routes, one has to question the wisdom of adding longer-range aircraft, especially when AR does not compete successfully with foreign carriers for high-fare paying business travelers and most of the significant international routes are already well-served by foreign airlines.  For example, the Argentina - United States market is very well-served by American, Delta, United, LAN, TAM and COPA (the latter three with connections through their home-country hubs) while Aerolineas loses huge amounts of money flying to Miami (MIA).  So why fly there ?  

Sources:  Aviacion News 22Nov12

Photo:     Phil Perry 

Monday, November 19, 2012

ROUTE UPDATE: Turkish Airlines Starting Service to Buenos Aires - Ezeiza (EZE) on 11Dec12 reports that Turkish Airlines started selling reservations to Buenos Aires - Ezeiza in GDS (Global Distribution Systems) on Saturday, 17Nov12. 

The service will be an extension of the carrier's four-times weekly Istanbul (IST) to Sao Paulo (GRU) flights operated by 777-300ER's.  The move is part of the airline's aggressive expansion to be a viable alternative to Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways connecting East and West through the Middle East (or close to it).  The airline recently also announced new service to Boston (BOS) and claims in its advertising that it flies to more countries than any other airline in the world. 

The flights will operate as follows:

Flight                Leg 1                       Leg 2                        Equipment   Frequency

TK015    IST 0920 - GRU 1900      GRU 2015 - EZE 2155          777-300ER   2,3,5,7 

TK016    EZE 2355 - GRU 0345+1  GRU 0505+1 - IST 2125+1    777-300ER   2,  3,5,7

Note: +1 = day following original departure day

Source: via Eric Trum

Saturday, November 17, 2012

ROUTE UPDATES: Argentina & Uruguay Routes by American, BQB, Gol & Iberia

The following are among the more significant route changes to air service in Argentina and Uruguay recently:

Effective     Airline          Route                  Equip       Change

28Oct12    Gol              ROS-POA-GIG      737         New Service 5x/week      
28Oct12    American     EZE-MIA               777         3rd Daily Flight until 01Apr13
01Dec12    BQB            MVD-AEP              ATR-72    New Service 2x/day 
01Jan13     Iberia          MVD-MAD             A340       Reducing from 6x to 4x/weekly 

Iberia announced that it will reduce service from Montevideo (MVD) to Madrid (MAD) from six-times to four-times weekly, effective 01Jan13 to 31Mar13 and possibly for all of the year.  The flight frequency could even see further reductions.  The drop in flights is seen as part of Iberia's cost reduction program, which includes the furlough of 4,500 employees (claimed to be 6,000 by Iberia's unions).  

Sergio Banales, president of Uruguay's Asociacion de Agencias de Viajes (travel agency association) said that this is "terrible" for Uruguay's traveling public and travel agencies as Iberia operates the only direct flights from Uruguay to Europe.  

Editor's Comment:  There are many connections to Europe available from Montevideo (MVD) through Brazil's Sao Paulo (GRU) and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) hubs but business and leisure travelers are always inclined to choose destinations with non-stop flights so incoming tourism and business travel to Uruguay will also likely be hurt.  

Source:  Aviacion News
              El Pais Uruguay 15Nov12

Thursday, November 15, 2012

PLUNA - Government Considering Buying CRJ-900's for Worker's Cooperative

PLUNA CRJ-900, CX-CRG, (c/n 15209) taxis at Buenos Aires - Aeroparque (AEP) on 29Jan11.  The aircraft was leased by PLUNA to its short-lived Argentine affiliate, Aero VIP, for about a year in 2009/2010 during which time it was registered as LV-BYW. 

With the failure of the auction of the seven ex-PLUNA CRJ-900's, there are few options on the horizon for the establishment of a Uruguayan national carrier.

BQB Lineas Aereas has withdrawn from the process and Argentine businessman Carlos Molinari has announced that he is stepping to one side for now. 

The latest possibility is that the Uruguayan government might form a government-owned company and pay the remaining debt on the aircraft, which it would donate to a workers' cooperative composed of former PLUNA employees. 

There would be no further subsidies, such as a reduction in taxes or the price of fuel, as other parties, such as Carlos Molinari had been negotiating at one point.

Source:  Aviacion News 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

FLEET UPDATE: BQB to acquire 3rd ATR-72-212A & one A320

El Observador of Uruguay reports that BQB Lineas Aereas will take delivery of a third ATR-72-212A in December to complement the two ATR's in its fleet since 2010, CX-JCL (c/n 805) and CX-JPL (c/n 816).

The third aircraft will reportedly be used to introduce service to Rivera (RVY) in northern Uruguay, plus Curitiba (CWB) and Porto Alegre (POA), both in Brazil.  It will also presumably be used to help introduce service on the "Air Bridge" between Montevideo (MVD) and Buenos Aires - Aeroparque (AEP) when BQB starts flying the route twice-daily on 01Dec12.

Additionally, BQB plans to receive an A320, its first jet, in February 2013 for use on charter flights for six months to gain "certification" operating the type.  The airline will then decide if it wants to add more aircraft to "consolidate the process of the company's development" according to Juan Patricio Lopez, CEO of the airline.  

Editor's Comment:  It sounds like BQB does not expect that a Uruguayan flag carrier replacing PLUNA will be formed so it is taking the initiative to be ready to operate some of the former carrier's routes.

Sources: 13Nov12

Monday, November 12, 2012

PHOTO GALLERY: BRAZIL PHOTOGRAPHY: Rio de Janeiro's Santos Dumont Airport - Part 3 of 3

The last posting of this three-part photographic series taken at Rio de Janeiro's Santos Dumont Airport SDU consists of business jets and props in private, military and government service.  All photos were taken as the aircraft were about to land or take off from runway 02R on Monday, 13Aug12.

ERJ-190AR, PR-ADV, (c/n 19000002)

Cessna Citation Mustang, PT-FLC, (c/n 510-0147)

Forca Aerea Brasileira Airbus A319CJ, FAB2101 (c/n 2263)

Cessna Citation Excel, PR-NBR, (c/n 560-5289)

Forca Aerea Brasileira Hawker U-125A, EU93-650, (c/n 258401) 

Forca Aerea Brasileira Embraer VC-99C, 2561 (c/n 145608)

Beechcraft King Air C90GTi, PR-STF, (c/n LJ-1907)

Cessna Citation Excel, PT-WYU, (c/n 560+5060)

IAI 1126 Galaxy, PR-FKK, (c/n 009) 

Socata TBM-50, PR-COK, (c/n 595)

All Photos:     Phil Perry
Aircraft Data: Eric Trum

Saturday, November 10, 2012

25 PLUNA Pilots Have Found Jobs outside Uruguay

Uruguayan newspaper El Pais reports that of the 120 former PLUNA pilots, 25 have found jobs outside of Uruguay with nine going to LAN in Chile and Peru, seven to COPA in Panama, and six pilots venturing as far as Ethiopia, Indonesia and Vietnam.     

The Uruguayan Civil Airline Pilots' Association (ACIPLA) estimates that 40 to 50 former PLUNA pilots have sought jobs elsewhere.  30 of the pilots were foreigners and have presumably left Uruguay.  

The pilots that found jobs in Panama and Indonesia report that they have at least doubled their former PLUNA salaries.  There were approx. 50 Uruguayan pilots and copilots flying in Chile even before the recent arrival of the ex-PLUNA flight crew members.  

Sources:  El Pais Uruguay, 14Oct12

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Macair Operations for LAER (Lineas Aereas Entre Rios)

Similar to Macair's operations for Aerochaco detailed in the posting of 04Nov12, the aircraft charter company also operates Jetstream 32EP's for LAER (Lineas Aereas Entre Rios) from Buenos Aires to points in Corrientes and Entre Rios provinces, both to the north/northwest of the Argentine capital.  

These routes are for local and business travelers plus foreign tourists looking to fish in Corrientes, for example.  There is also a route to the resort city of Necochea in southwestern Buenos Aires province.      

The routes and frequencies flown include: 

Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Parana, Entre Rios (PRA), 6x/weekly

Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Parana, Entre Rios (PRA) - Goya, Corrientes (OYA), 1x/weekly

Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Concordia, Entre Rios (COC), 3x/weekly

Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Concordia, Entre Rios (COC) - Goya, Corrientes (OYA), 2x/weekly

Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Necochea (NEC), 2x/weekly

The airline is planning to soon extend flights from Goya (OYA) to Reconquista (RCQ) and Mercedes (MDX) near the Esteros del Ibera marshlands tourist area.

LAER dates back to 1967 and has flown aircraft as diverse as the Argentine small transport FMA IA-50 Guarani II, Jetstream 31, ATR-42-320, and F.28-1000.   

For a view of these aircraft types, click the links below:

Jetstream 31:

ATR- 42-320: 


Another aircraft charter company, Flying America, previously operated two Metro III's for LAER as illustrated below:

Flying America Fairchild Swearingen SA-227AC Metro III, LV-YIC, (c/n AC-448) rests at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 10Jul10.     

Flying America Fairchild Swearingen SA-227AC Metro III, LV-BGH, (c/n AC-467) being towed at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 24Sep10. 

Former LAER Jetstream 31, LV-VEI, (c/n 830) sits dismantled at Moron Airport (MOR) west of Buenos Aires on 10Oct12.  

                 Aviacion News
                 LV - Lima Victor magazine 

Photos:    Phil Perry

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Six Leased PLUNA CRJ-900's to Return to Canada by End of November

Diario La Republica of Uruguay reports that the Uruguayan registrations of the six former PLUNA CRJ-900's that were leased will soon be cancelled and the aircraft flown back to Canada by Canadian pilots during the course of November with all aircraft due to be returned by the end of the month.   

The aircraft in question are:

CX-CRH (c/n 15233)
CX-CRI (c/n 15234)
CX-CRK (c/n 15239)
CX-CRL (c/n 15273)
CX-CRM (c/n 15274)
CX-CRN (c/n 15275)


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Macair Operations for Aerochaco - Profile & Photos

Macair Jetstream 32EP, LV-ZPZ, (c/n 931) with Aerochaco titles and rear fuselage design   

 Macair Jetstream 32EP, LV-ZPW, (c/n 861) with "Macair Jet" titles 

Macair Jetstream 32EP, LV-ZOW, (c/n 869) with no titles 

Macair Jetstream 32EP, LV-ZRL, (c/n 928) with no titles

The four aircraft above were all photographed at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) early on the morning of Sunday, 06Feb11, operating tourist charters to Iguazu Falls (IGR).  The editor of this blog does not know who they were operating on behalf of.  Note the "M" tail logo on all of the planes. 

Macair is an Argentine aircraft charter company that operates executive and group charters plus emergency medical flights using a fleet of Learjets, a Citation, and a Gulfstream G-IV from its Buenos Aires - Aeroparque (AEP) base.  

The company also operates Jetstream 32's on behalf of Aerochaco, an Argentine carrier that is the state airline of the northern province of Chaco.  Some sources indicate that Macair operates six Jetstreams but research by the editor of this blog only turned up four such aircraft currently in the Macair fleet.  

These aircraft operate scheduled services on behalf of Aerochaco on several routes with only one route including the city of Resistencia, the capital of Chaco.  Scheduled routes include:

Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Villa Maria (VMA) - 2x/weekly

Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Sunchales (NCJ) - 5x/weekly

Cordoba (COR) - Sunchales (NCJ) - Resistancia (RES) - 3x/weekly

Cordoba (COR) - Villa Maria (VMA) - Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - 1x/weekly

Cordoba is the capital of Cordoba province and the second-largest city in Argentina with 1.2 million people.  It is in the heart of one of the nation's most important and productive farm regions and home to several prominent educational institutions.     

Villa Maria is the third-largest city in Cordoba province (after Rio Cuarto) with a population of 70,000 and metro area of 140,000, also in the heart of farm country.  

Sunchales is a small city (18,000 people) in Santa Fe province to the north of Cordoba in the heart of dairy country and home to SanCor, a large cooperative that turns out 20% of Argentina's dairy production.  

Macair also flew MD-87, LV-BZH (c/n 49780) on charter flights on behalf of Aerochaco with the airline's titles and special sticker "Official Airline of Boca Juniors" professional soccer club.  It also flew without the titles or sticker as illustrated below.  The aircraft left the Macair fleet approx. late 2010.
Macair Jet MD-87, LV-BZH, (c/n 49780/1674) at Aeroparque on 01Aug10

The same aircraft with Aerochaco titles and soccer team sticker: 

Aerochaco flew another MD-87, LV-BSC, (c/n 49727/1621), which was reportedly leased from Flying America and not Macair as shown here:

Photos:    Phil Perry

Friday, November 2, 2012

SAPSA Solicited to fly Metros within Rio Negro Province

SAPSA Fairchild Metro SA-227DC Metro 23, LV-ZXA, (c/n DC-901B) at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 01Oct10. This aircraft was delivered new from the manufacturer's San Antonio, Texas factory to Argentina in October 2000 and was reportedly the next-to-last Metro built. 

The Minister of Tourism of the Patagonian province of Rio Negro, Angel Rovira Bosch, is recruiting SAPSA (Servicios Aereos Patagonicos Sociedad Anonima) to operate scheduled flights linking several cities in the province that spans from the foothills of the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean in south central Argentina.   

SAPSA operates charters carrying passengers, cargo, and mail using two Fairchild Metros from its Viedma (VDM) base near the Atlantic Ocean.  It is 90% owned by the Via Bariloche bus company but it was founded by the Province of Rio Negro in 1998 as a state-owned company. The airline is also known to have operated subservices for Sol Lineas Aereas out of Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP).

Mr. Bosch is looking for SAPSA to operate a circle route, Viedma (VDM) - Roca (GNR) - Bariloche (BRC) - Jacobacci (IGB) - Viedma (VDM), within the province three times per week starting in early 2013. 

Sources: Aviacion News

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cordoba Pajas Blancas Airport - Cargo Charter Visits

Cordoba, Argentina's international airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Ambrosio Taravella (COR), also known as Pajas Blancas, recently received visits from several interesting cargo charters not often seen at the central Argentina airport.  

The aircraft flew in from Brazil bringing car parts for Cordoba's automobile manufacturing plants, a couple of which had suspended production due to a lack of parts resulting from the Argentine national government's policy of restricting imports.

Aircraft spotted include:

27Oct12  Air Class Cargo Metro III, CX-LSS, all-white from Curitiba, Brazil  

27Oct12  Air Class Cargo 727-200F, CX-CAR, in full colors from Curitiba, Brazil

28Oct12  LAN Cargo 767-300F, N524LA, operated by ABSA Cargo from Brazil 
             The aircraft left to Tucuman (TUC) shortly thereafter to pick up a 
             load of blueberries, probably to the United States as LAN Cargo 
             has operated about a dozen blueberry charters annually from TUC 
             to the U.S. for at least a couple of years.   

The following link shows photos of the aircraft visiting COR: