Saturday, September 28, 2013

Volga-Dnepr Airlines AN-124 visits Mendoza (MDZ)

Mendoza El Plumerillo Airport (MDZ) had an unusual visitor on 13Sep13 when Volga-Dnepr Airlines Antonov AN-124-100, RA-82047 (c/n 9773053259121) arrived from Houston (presumably Bush Intercontinental - IAH) with a technical stop in Lima (LIM).  

The AN-124's entire nose section swings upward allowing for the transport of very large shipments.  This visit was presumably to bring oversize equipment for the oil industry in Neuquen where there are huge shale oil reserves.    


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ROUTE UPDATE: TAM Linhas Aereas to start Rosario (ROS) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) service effective 01Jan14

TAM Brazilian Airlines A320, PR-MBC, at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 18Sep10, a few days after the airline started serving the airport. (Phil Perry photo)

In a surprise announcement, given that the Argentine ANAC (National Civil Aviation Administration) has denied Rosario (ROS) - Lima service to LAN Argentina and Rosario (ROS) - Panama City (PTY) to COPA in recent years, the Argentine Transport Secretary, Alejandro Ramos, a native of Santa Fe province where Rosario is located, announced recently that TAM Linhas Aereas will start service between Rosario (ROS) and its hub at Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) in Brazil, effective 01Jan14.

To operate the service, TAM will shift one of its existing Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) frequencies to Rosario.  The new route will presumably be operated with A320's like the Buenos Aires service.  Secretary Ramos claimed that the recent lengthening of Rosario's runway by the national government was key to the new service.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas A330 & A340 Fleet Deployment Plans

Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of the first of four A330-200's on lease from ILFC when LV-FNI (c/n 290), formerly with Malaysia Airlines arrived at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on 05Sep13.  The other three A330-200's, two from Air Australia and one more from Malaysian, are due to arrive one-by-one between now and November.  The aircraft, which are 13 years old on average, are being leased for US$ 380,000 per month.  The A330-200's will join AR's existing fleet of A340-200's and 300's which will itself grow when two more A340's join AR from Iberia later this year, including one which will be the first Aerolineas wide-bodied aircraft to be painted in Skyteam colors.    

The A340's currently fly to Barcelona (BCN), Madrid (MAD) and Rome (FCO) in Europe, Miami (MIA) in the U.S. and Sydney (SYD), Australia.  With the arrival of the A330's, the smaller aircraft will take over the Miami (MIA) flights, start the new New York - JFK service on 15Dec13, and fly to Ushuaia (USH) in southern Argentina that is a popular starting point for Antarctica cruises. Lima (LIM) might be added to the list of A330 destinations too.  

Although several European airlines operate the A330 on transatlantic services Aerolineas does not currently have that option as it is not certified for ETOPS (extended-range twin-engine operations) and its aircraft lack the necessary rest areas for more than one crew.

Friday, September 20, 2013

ROUTE UPDATES: Air Europa to start Salvador (SSA), Brazil Hub to Cordoba (COR), Montevideo (MVD) & Santiago (SCL)

The website of Spanish newspaper ABC reports that Air Europa will start a hub in Salvador de Bahia (SSA) with flights inbound from Madrid (MAD) continuing to Cordoba (COR), Montevideo (MVD) and Santiago (SCL).  

The airline has operated 3x/weekly Madrid (MAD) - Salvador (SSA) flights since 2003 and will now increase these to daily with onward flights to COR 2x/week, MVD 2x/week and SCL 3x/week.  The hub will be built up gradually starting in November with flights being added until April 2014 when the full schedule will be up-and-running just in time for the start of the 2014 World Cup, of which Salvador will be one of the host cities.

Salvador, with its tropical beaches is a strong touristic, gastronomic and cultural destination.  A spokesman for Grupo Globalia, owner of Air Europa, indicated that Salvador was chosen for the hub "for several reasons; it has a strategic geographic location, it is an established destination for tourism, and it has an airport and tourism infrastructure that will allow for an increase in the flow (of travelers)."  

Air Europa will apparently be allowed "Fifth Freedom" traffic rights to carry revenue passengers between Brazil and the other South American countries. Spain, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay collectively account for 210,000 of the 558,000 annual foreign visitors to Salvador and the regional government of Bahia (of which Salvador is the capital) estimates that the new flights will result in a 20% increase in this number.         


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ROUTE UPDATES: Announced First Half 2013

The editor of this blog was traveling between March and June this year.  This airline route update will cover some of the route changes announced in the first half of this year.     

Airline               Routing                             Eff           Equip         Remarks

SOL                   AEP - Viedma (VDM)             09Apr13    Saab 340     2x/week

Andes                AEP - Salta (SLA)                 01May13   MD-80        Reduce 6x to 3x/week

Andes                AEP - Jujuy (JUJ)                  01May13   MD-80        Eliminating daily service 

BQB                   Montevideo (MVD) - EZE        15May13   ATR-72       4x/week

Austral               EZE - Belo Horizonte (CNF)     01Jun13     E190          Daily

Austral               AEP - Cordoba (COR) - Jujuy (JUJ) 02Jun13  E190       3x/week

TAME                 EZE - Quito (UIO)                 07Jun13     A319          Daily

Turkish               EZE - Istanbul (IST)             ??Jul13       A340-300    4x/week to daily 

Aerolineas Arg.     EZE - Brasilia (BSB)              01Aug13     737NG        Daily

Comments on Route Update:

* Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral have been steadily adding destinations in Brazil with Belo Horizonte (CNF) and Brasilia (BSB) being their fifth and sixth destinations after Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG), Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU), Porto Alegre (POA) and Florianopolis (FLN) which is operated on a seasonal basis.    

* Andes has reduced service between Buenos Aires and its northwest Argentina base due to increasing competition from Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral and LAN Argentina.

* BQB Lineas Aereas has added service from Montevideo (MVD) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to connect with Aerolineas Argentinas flights to Miami (MIA), Madrid (MAD) and Barcelona (BCN) and Iberia flights to Madrid (MAD) with connections beyond. 

Sources: via Eric Trum    

Saturday, September 14, 2013

ROUTE UPDATE: Macair flew Jetstreams in Paraguay as Ad Maiora Lineas Aereas in early 2013 but service was short-lived

Macair Jetstream 32, LV-ZOW, (c/n 869) at Encarnacion (ENO) for its inaugural flight to Asuncion (ASU) on 18Jan13 (President Franco Photo via Twitter    

Macair, mostly known for flying subservices for Aerochaco and Lineas Aereas Entre Rios in Argentina (see posts of 04Nov12 and 08Nov12), operated a short-lived service in Paraguay earlier this year under the name of Ad Maiora Lineas Aereas.  

Flights were operated using Macair Jetstream 32's between Asuncion (ASU) and the newly-inaugurated airport in Encarnacion (ENO) 250 miles / 400km to the southeast of the Paraguayan capital.  The inaugural flight of the three-times weekly service took place on 18Jan13 with Paraguayan President Federico Franco present for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies.   

Photos of one aircraft painted with Ad Maiora Lineas Aereas titles appeared on more than one source online.  

The airline had plans to add service from Asuncion (ASU) to three other cities in Paraguay, Ciudad del Este (AGT), Saltos del Guairá and Pedro Juan Caballero (PJC) plus Resistencia (RES) in Argentina but after four months of the Encarnacion (ENO) operation, all flights were discontinued in May due to low passenger numbers.   

Oddly, the airline's website is still online as if the company was still operating normally.

             vuelos-en-paraguay-como-ad-maiora-lineas-aereas/                                                               Aviacion News 23May13                                      

Thursday, September 12, 2013

HISTORICAL PHOTO: Aero Regionales AN-24B, LZ-MND, at Montevideo (MVD)

Aero Regionales AN-24B, LZ-MND (c/n 97305307) at Montevideo (MVD) in 1994-95. (Phil Perry Collection)

This was the only Russian aircraft to fly for a Uruguayan airline that the editor of this blog is aware of and the carrier did not last long.  Originally formed as Aerolineas Regionales Uruguayas in 1993-94, the airline shortened its name to Aero Regionales in 1994-95.  Its fleet consisted of only one aircraft flying between Montevideo (MVD) and Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP).    

LZ-MND was originally delivered to Aeroflot in 1969 but has flown for several airlines, most recently Air Urga of Ukraine and on lease to the United Nations at least as recently as 2007 when it was photographed in Belgrade, Serbia. 


Monday, September 9, 2013

FLEET UPDATE: Austral ERJ-190; Two New Deliveries Pending, One to be in Skyteam Colors

The two newest ERJ-190's for Austral, full designation is Embraer 190AR (ERJ-190-100IGW), are expected to be delivered to Argentina in the next couple of months.  They are:

(c/n 19000639) with Brazilian registration PR-ECH, to be LV-FPS painted in Skyteam colors with "delivery" expected on 16Sep13, arrival at Buenos Aires Aeropatque (AEP) on 27Sep13 and entry into service on 07Oct13.

Photos of this aircraft undergoing flight tests in Brazil from the the excellent blog Linea ALA:

(c/n 19000640) with Brazilian registration PR-ECI, to be LV-FPT with expected "delivery" on 14Oct13, arrival at Buenos Aires Aeropatque (AEP) on 15Oct13 and entry into service on 04Nov13. 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

LAN Argentina Hangar Dispute - Arguments For & Against

The dispute over LAN Argentina's hangar at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) stirred much debate during the week of August 26-30 with arguments both for and against the measure. 



* Minister of Transport Florencio Randazzo explained the eviction as part of the Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) master plan put together in 2010 to reorganize the facility, including the use of its hangars, to accommodate growth of 100,000 passengers per month, with 850 million pesos (US$ 150 million at the official exchange rate) being invested in the project. 

* LAN Argentina operated out of AEP for three years, from 2005-2008, without the hangar so why is it so important now ?

* The hangar is not essential to LAN Argentina's operation, it can still operate in the country using hangars at other airports, such as Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE). 

* LAN Argentina has had special privileges not given to other airlines, such as discounted jet bridge access at AEP and handling services from ground operator InterCargo so it should not complain about the inconvenience of vacating the hangar.

* LAN Argentina limits its flying in Argentina to fourteen profitable city pairs, while Aerolineas Argentinas flies many more routes, many of which are to unprofitable smaller cities, another reason why LAN Argentina should not complain about abandoning the hangar.


* The airline invested US$ 5 million in building the hangar and pays US$ 20,000 rent plus it has a contract with the airport for its use until 2023.

* The airline actually did have a hangar that it rented at AEP from 2005-2008 prior to occupying its own hangar. 

* While LAN Argentina could use a hangar at EZE, ten of its twelve aircraft are based at AEP and ferrying them to EZE would incur costs and aircraft downtime that would have a significant financial impact on its operation.   

Blog Editor's Comments:

LAN Argentina gets no subsidies while Aerolineas Argentinas gets US$ 1 billion per year.  Compare this to the Essential Air Service program in the United States that subsidizes airline service at 112 airports on 150+ routes that totaled US$ 170 million in 2012.  Why does Aerolineas need six times as much money to subsidize flights to just a few dozen cities at best ?

The Argentine government seems intent on forcing LAN to leave Argentina. The hangar situation is only the latest measure that it has taken to make the company's Argentine operation more costly and difficult.  For a summary of some of these (and also multiple measures against other airlines) see the following blog entry from 20Dec12:

LAN operates divisions in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru without encountering the same difficulties in those countries.  The airline employs some 3,000 people in Argentina creating economic activity and paying taxes.  Why the adversarial approach to this company ? 


Monday, September 2, 2013

LAN Argentina Aeroparque Hangar Dispute Continues

LAN Argentina A320, LV-BRY, rotates at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 03Oct10. (Phil Perry Photo)

The dispute between LAN Argentina and the Argentine government over the airline's hangar at Buenos Aeroparque (AEP) has been suspended indefinitely after a tumultuous week of events stemming from the government order issued on Tuesday, 20Aug13 for the company to abandon the hangar by Thursday, 29Aug13.  The week unfolded as follows:   

Monday, August 26:

* LAN Argentina filed a request with the courts that the order be suspended.

* The government television program 6,7,8 referred to LAN Argentina as the "flagship airline of the opposition" in reference to those opposed to Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.  LAN Argentina Public Affairs spokesman Agustin Agraz criticized this remark noting that all of LAN Argentina's employees are Argentine and that the airline wants to keep growing and hiring employees.

* Two unions, the APTA (Association of Aeronautical Technical Personnel) and ATCPEA (Flight Attendants Union), protested the government order inside the Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) terminal and also by partially blocking the major roadway outside the airport known as the "Costanera".

ATCPEA spokesman Ricardo Cirielli indicated that the union would shut down air transportation in Argentina on Thursday, 29Aug13 with a strike affecting all the domestic airlines and even international flights because the air traffic controllers would participate in the action too.   

The goal of the measure was for the government to suspend the hangar eviction notice. 

* The head of ORSNA (National Airport Regulatory Agency), Gustavo Lipovich, indicated that if LAN Argentina did not abandon the hangar, the government would start legal proceedings against the company but that there would be no forced eviction.

* reported that the government is willing to let LAN Argentina continue using the AEP hangar until it can move to EZE.  It even offered the airline the possibility of more international route rights but LAN Argentina rejected the idea.

Wednesday, August 28:

* The Argentine justice dept. issued a restraining order prohibiting the government from forcibly evicting the airline from its hangar giving the government five days to "provide an update on the situation".  One of the reasons cited for issuing the order was that LAN Argentina was not given enough time to state its case against it.  

Thursday, August 29:

* Argentine Minister of Transport Florencio Randazzo stated that "we do not want to throw any airline out of Argentina" and indicated that the government had requested the Chilean and Brazilian authorities (LAN is part of LATAM, a Chilean and Brazilian airline holding company) reciprocal rights for Aerolineas Argentinas to be able to operate domestically in those countries.    

* The Chilean government replied that Aerolineas is free to operate in Chile and did so with its affiliate Aerolineas del Sur for several years in the 2000's but closed it voluntarily in 2008.   

* Argentine Vice Minister of the Economy Axel Kicillof met with LAN Airlines President Ignacio Cueto in Buenos Aires, where among other things, he asked Cueto to produce a technical report explaining why LAN Argentina could not operate in Argentina without the Aeroparque hangar. 

* LAN's Cueto claims that it would be very "viable" for Aerolineas Argentinas to operate in Chile and that it is fairly "fast and simple" to get authorized to do so. 

Friday, August 30: 

* Aerolineas Argentinas President Mariano Recalde replied to the claims of the Chilean government and Cueto that it would be easy for Aerolineas to operate in Chile by saying that LAN is famous for "dumping airfares" in the markets it operates to eliminate competition.