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  

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