Sunday, December 28, 2014

HISTORICAL PHOTOS: September 25, 4th Anniversary of Austral EMB-190AR in Service

Austral celebrated the 4th anniversary of Embraer 190AR regional jet service on 25Sep14.  The first two aircraft, LV-CDY (c/n 365) and LV-CDZ (c/n 377), were delivered to Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 20Sep10 as pictured below.       

Austral, sister airline to Aerolineas Argentinas, currently has 22 Embraer 190's in service flying domestic Argentine routes and regional services to neighboring countries Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.  

The original order for 20 airframes was delivered in the year between September 2010 and 2011 with a follow-up order of two more examples being delivered in September and October 2013.  

All of the airline's Embraer 190's are equipped with 8 first-class and 88 economy-class seats and are powered by two GE CF34-10E6 engines.  

The first commercial service operated by an Austral Embraer 190 was flight AR2652 from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) to Neuquen (NQN) on 25Sep10.

As of 25Sep14, the Embraer 190 fleet had accumulated approx. 189,922 hours and 131,572 cycles.

LV-CDY during a low flypast over Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on its delivery flight from the Embraer factory in Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, Brazil in the late afternoon of 20Sep10.  (Phil Perry Photo) 

Minutes later, LV-CDZ followed with its own low flypast over AEP.  (Phil Perry Photo)

After its flypast, LV-CDY lands on Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) runway 13 for the first-ever touchdown of an Austral Embraer 190 on Argentine soil.  (Phil Perry Photo)  

LV-CDZ follows LV-CDY a few minutes later.  (Phil Perry Photo) 


Friday, December 26, 2014

Proposed Spanish Start-Up "Plus Ultra Lineas Aereas" receives first A340, plans service to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) & Other Destinations

The proposed new Spanish carrier, Plus Ultra Lineas Aereas, received the first of two planned A340-313X's, A9C-LG (c/n 212), on September 1.  The aircraft was painted in the airline's full colors as seen in the photo below:

The plane was originally delivered to Singapore Airlines in 1998 and transferred to Gulf Air in 2003 but was stored in June 2011, most recently at Amman, Jordan's Queen Alia Airport.  It is due to be re-registered as EC-MDG.

Sistership A9C-LH, (c/n 215), has an identical history, having also been delivered to Singapore, flown with Gulf Air and stored in Jordan.  It is also due to join Plus Ultra.

Plus Ultra was established in 2011 by former Air Madrid director Julio Miguel Martinez Sola with the intention of flying long-haul flights from Madrid (MAD) to Latin America, including Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), Bogota, Havana, and Santiago, much in the same fashion as Air Madrid did from 2003 to 2006, with A330's and a single A340.  However, the airline has yet to start flying and its website barely has any information on it:  If it launches service, Plus Ultra will face stiff competition from Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Europa and Iberia. 

"Plus Ultra" is the national motto of Spain, which in Latin means "further beyond".  

A Dornier Do J flying boat named "Plus Ultra" flew the first transatlantic flight from Spain to South America in 1926, completing the four-day journey from Palo de las Fronteras, Spain to Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 26.  The aircraft is currently on display in the Carriage Museum in Lujan, Argentina, near Buenos Aires.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas operates sporadic flights from Mendoza (MDZ) and Trelew (REL) to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU)

Aerolineas Argentinas 737-7Q8, LV-CMK (c/n 28240/832) operated the inaugural Trelew (REL) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) flight on 18Oct14. It is seen here landing at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 14Aug14. (Phil Perry Photo)

Aerolineas Argentinas recently tried some flights from "interior" points of Argentina, specifically Mendoza (MDZ) and Trelew (REL) directly to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU), bypassing the usual connections through Buenos Aires.  The flights were promoted as a joint initiative with the provinces of Mendoza and city of Trelew, respectively. 

Only nine flights were operated from Mendoza (MDZ) during the June - August period after which they were cancelled due to light loads.  

The Trelew (REL) flights were reportedly operated in October and November to coincide with the whale-watching season in the hopes of bringing Brazilian tourists directly to the region.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Former Air Class Uruguay EMB-110P1 Bandeirante, CX-VIP, in Wheels-Up Landing in Brazil

Air Class EMB-110P1 Bandeirante, CX-VIP, (c/n 110-258) in April 2003. (Phil Perry Collection)

EMB-110P1 Bandeirante, PT-TAW (c/n 110-258) operated by Taxi Aereo Ribeiro performed a wheels-up belly landing in a corn field near the Foz de Iguacu Airport (IGU) while operating a flight from Curitiba (CWB) on 28Jul14. None of the four occupants was hurt but the aircraft's fuselage and propellers suffered extensive damage.  

The aircraft was first delivered to Finnaviation as OH-EBC in April 1980 and continued to fly in Finland for Wasa Wings, Air Botnia, and Skaergardsflyg AB until 2000 when it went to Aero VIP of Uruguay as CX-VIP and Air Class before finally joining Taxi Aereo Ribeiro.

In Uruguay, the Bandeirante flew Mail Contract flights for DHL and flew frequently between Montevideo (MVD) and both Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) and Aeroparque (AEP).  

Photo of the aircraft after the belly landing:   


Friday, December 19, 2014

Former Argentine Air Force 707-387B, TC-91, Painted in Lufthansa Colors for Movie

Former Fuerza Aerea Argentina 707-387B, TC-91 (c/n 21070/897) was recently painted in 1970's Lufthansa colors for filming of the movie "Colonia Dignidad" starring English actress Emma Watson.  The movie is based on events surrounding the 1973 Chilean military coup.  The aircraft was painted at El Palomar Air Force Base where some of the filming has taken place.       

TC-91 was delivered to the Fuerza Aerea Argentina on 11Jun75 where it flew for the Argentine Presidential Flight as T-01 until it was converted to a -387C configuration in June 1977 and joined the regular Fuerza Aerea Argentina fleet of 707's.  The aircraft went on to serve with Lineas Aereas del Estado (LADE) from 1996 until 2005/2006 when it operated some of the last 707 passenger services worldwide.  TC-91 has reportedly been at El Palomar ever since.

Photo of TC-91 in Lufthansa colors:


Monday, December 15, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas presents 2015 Route Additions

Aerolineas Argentinas recently announced its 2015 route changes including several new international flights and a lot of new service connecting "interior" points of Argentina directly to each other without having to fly though Buenos Aires.  

Much of the new domestic service overlaps with routes that until recently were flown by SOL Lineas Aereas with their Saab 340's. 

New service includes:


Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Salvador de Bahia (SSA):   

Eff 02Jan15 with 6x/weekly flights increasing to daily on 01Mar15 using 737-800's

Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Quito (UIO) & Guayaquil (GYE)

Effective in April using 737-800's (?)

The above services are in addition to the new flights to Havana (HAV) and Punta Cana (PUJ) and additional flights to Cancun (CUN) all effective in January 2015 for the Argentine summer vacation periods as announced in a previous posting.


* Cordoba (COR) - El Calafate (FTE):

3x/weekly using 737-700's from 01Jan15 - 28Feb15 (seasonal service)

* Rosario (ROS) - Bariloche (BRC):

3x/weekly using Embraer 190's from 01Jan15  - 28Feb15 (seasonal service)
Rosario (ROS) - El Calafate (FTE)

6x/weekly 737-700's eff 02Mar15

* Cordoba (COR) - Tucuman (TUC)

2x/weekly 737-700, 1x/weekly Embraer 190 eff 03Mar15

Rio Gallegos (RGL) - Comodoro Rivadavia (CRD)

1x/daily 737-800 eff 01Jul15  

* Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Bahia Blanca (BHI)
* Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - San Luis(LUQ)
Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Santiago del Estero (SDE)

All of the above routes will see one additional daily flight effective in July. 


Saturday, December 13, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: LAN Argentina takes delivery of its 12th A320-233, LV-FUX

LAN Argentina took delivery of its 12th A320-233, LV-FUX (c/n 4543) from parent company LAN Airlines on 29Oct14.  The A320 was first delivered to LAN on 15Jan11 and also flew for LAN Ecuador prior to its recent transfer to LAN Argentina.

LV-FUX will replace another LAN Argentina A320 while it is undergoing heavy maintenance so its stay in Argentina might be short-lived once the aircraft being worked on is returned to service.  In recent times, the Argentine government has not allowed LAN Argentina to bring in any more aircraft, even on a temporary basis to replace those undergoing maintenance but this policy has apparently been relaxed.     


Thursday, December 11, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas adding Seasonal Flights to Cancun (CUN), Havana ((HAV) and Punta Cana (PUJ)

Aerolineas Argentinas will add seasonal flights from Buenos Aires Ezeiza to Cancun (CUN), Havana (HAV) and Punta Cana (PUJ) in January using 737-800's serving the Argentine summer vacation market.  Aerolineas already serves Cancun (CUN) with 2x/weekly A340 flights. 

The flights will make a technical stop in Caracas (CCS) for refueling with no local traffic rights between Venezuela and the final destinations.  Even so, it has been written that the flights will be weight-restricted to 145 passengers (out of a total of 170 seats) to conserve fuel due to the long stage length between Buenos Aires and Caracas. This is a little surprising to the editor of this blog given that COPA flies 737-700/800 between Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) and Panama City (PTY), a similar distance to the Aerolineas' Caribbean routes, without any weight restrictions as far as the editor knows. 

Initially, it was rumored that the flights would stop in Manaus (MAO), probably enabling the 737-800's to operate without load restrictions (because it is closer to Buenos Aires), but this was apparently changed to Caracas because the Venezuelan government owes billions of US$ to foreign airlines for tickets that they have sold in the country, including Aerolineas Argentinas, and this is an alternative way of "paying back" the airline with fuel credits.     

These routes are designed to gain market share from COPA and LAN, both of which have been successful in the Argentina - Caribbean summer travel market.

Aviacion News reports that Aerolineas is apparently using the 737-800 in these markets, despite their range limitations, because it has taken delivery of several -800's lately with a limited number of viable destinations to operate them to due to the Argentine economy being in a mild recession.      

The 737-800 flights will operate as follows:

Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Caracas (CCS) - Cancun (CUN), 2x/weekly, effective 05Jan15, Mon & Fri    

Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Caracas (CCS) - Havana (HAV), 2x/weekly, effective 04Jan15, Wed & Sun  

Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Caracas (CCS) - Punta Cana (PUJ), 3x/weekly, effective 03Jan15, Tue, Thu & Sat  

Sources: via Eric Trum via Eric Trum

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

SOL Lineas Aereas Cuts Back Service & Disposes of One Saab 340A

SOL Lineas Aereas Saab 340A, LV-BTP (c/n 131), left the fleet in August 2014 to Sky Bahamas. Here it is seen at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 20Sep10.  (Phil Perry Photo)

SOL Lineas Aereas has cut back service significantly in 2014, including the elimination of flights to cities in the Patagonia region of southern Argentina, such as Bariloche (BRC), Esquel (EQS), and Ushuaia (USH) in May and the "Corredor Petrolero" (Oil Route) linking Cordoba (COR), Mendoza (MDZ) and Neuquen (NQN) in July.  Some of these airports had been served by SOL since 2010 but increased competition from Aerolineas Argentinas and sister carrier Austral that have introduced their own "circle" routes connecting "interior" points of Argentina using the Embraer 190 have had their impact on SOL.       

On May 15, the airline cut the last two points of its "Atlantic Coast" route extending from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) to Mar del Plata (MDQ), Bahia Blanca (BHI), Trelew (REL), Comodoro Rivadavia (CRD), Rio Gallegos (RGL) and Rio Grande (RGA), the latter point located in the southernmost region of Argentina, Tierra del Fuego.  Trelew and Comodoro Rivadavia, both located in the province of Chubut, were set to be cut on November 1 too, but the governor of Chubut agreed to extend the fuel subsidy to SOL that was set to expire on that date.

SOL's primary routes linking Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), Rosario (ROS), Santa Fe (SFN) and Mar del Plata (MDQ) are being retained with seasonal service to Villa Gesell (VLG) and from Rosario (ROS) to Punta del Este (PDP) also planned.  

Contrary to the service reductions, SOL reintroduced service to San Luis (LUQ) on November 1, 6x/weekly with flights to Villa Mercedes (VME) and Villa de Merlo also likely. All three airports are in the province of San Luis in central Argentina.

The service cutbacks have led to the layoffs of 19 pilots and the disposal of one of its Saab 340A's, LV-BTP (c/n 131), which left the fleet to Sky Bahamas in August 2014.  SOL currently has the following Saab 340's in its fleet:

LV-CEI  (c/n 12) 340A 
LV-BEW (c/n 150) 340A
LV-CSK (c/n 168) 340B
LV-CYC (c/n 310) 340B


Sunday, December 7, 2014

BQB Lineas Aereas Cutting Back Services, Laying Off Workers & Reducing Fleet

BQB Lineas Aereas, which as recently as the first half of 2014 was planning to increase service, has cancelled expansion plans and sharply reduced existing services.

The airline, based in Montevideo (MVD), was flying a leased A320 followed by a leased A319 to Santiago (SCL), Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) earlier this year but now has canceled these routes and apparently returned the A319 to the lessor.  In addition, BQB has sold two of its four ATR-72-212A's though the editor of this blog has not been able to confirm which ones. 55 staff have been laid off (made redundant) and all Brazilian routes canceled including Porto Alegre (POA) and Curitiba (CWB). 

The airline is currently only flying the services that it started out with, such as its most important route, Montevideo (MVD) to Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) plus Montevideo (MVD) to Asuncion (ASU) and domestic flights to Rivera (RVY) and Salto (STY).  

BQB claims that the reductions are not as a result of financial difficulties but are necessary measures to adjust to changes in the marketplace.  However, IATA (International Air Transport Association) suspended the airline for a time in August from its ticket clearinghouse whereby funds collected by airlines on behalf of other carriers on common tickets are redistributed to the operating carrier.  This would suggest that BQB was retaining funds that it should have forwarded to IATA.  This situation appears to have since been resolved but the editor of this blog has no confirmation of that. 

Separately, the Uruguayan Civil Aviation Direcorate (DINACIA) is investigating a tail-strike incident involving a BQB ATR-72-212A in Salto (STY) on 09Dec11 that went unreported. 



Friday, December 5, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: Seven former PLUNA CRJ-900's Sale Details finalized, Aircraft to leave Uruguay in coming months

The seven former company-owned PLUNA CRJ-900's that have been parked at Montevideo (MVD) since the July 2012 shutdown of the defunct Uruguayan national airline have reportedly been definitively sold to Strategic Air Finance of Florida who will pass them along to Nordic Aviation Capital of Denmark.

The aircraft sale was agreed to on a provisional basis between the bankruptcy liquidators and Strategic Air Finance in July for US$ 77 million for all seven airframes subject to inspection of the planes.  Reviewing the CRJ-900's, two were found to have defects requiring maintenance and / or repair but more significantly, nine of the fourteen engines on the planes will need work before they can be put back in service.  To compensate for the costs involved, the sale price of the planes has been reduced by US$ 6.3 million to US$ 70.7 million.

Each aircraft will be paid for and delivered one at a time so it appears that the aircraft sale price may still vary if any new defects are found when the maintenance staff start working on them. The CRJ-900's will likely start leaving Montevideo (MVD) sometime in the next few weeks with all of them likely gone by early 2015.

Nordic Aviation Capital will presumably lease the CRJ-900's to airlines worldwide. 

The seven aircraft are:

CX-CRA (c/n 15165)
CX-CRB (c/n 15169)
CX-CRC (c/n 15175)
CX-CRD (c/n 15180)
CX-CRE (c/n 15185)
CX-CRF (c/n 15204)
CX-CRG (c/n 15209)


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: Several Aerolineas Argentinas A340-211's left the fleet in recent months

A340-312, LV-BMT (c/n 48), which had left Aerolineas service in November 2013 was scrapped at the Goodyear, Arizona airport in July.  The aircraft entered service in 1994 with Air Mauritius and also flew with Air Jamaica and Air Canada before joining Aerolineas in 2007.    

A340-211, LV-ZPX (c/n 80), flew from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Victorville (VCV) airport in California on 13Aug14.  The aircraft had been stored at EZE since May 2014 in basic Aerolineas colors but without titles.  This aircraft is noteworthy for having operated the last Aerolineas Argentinas service to Sydney (SYD) on 01Apr14 and some unusual charters, such as the high-level Argentine government group to Vietnam on 26Oct12.   
A340-211, LV-ZPJ (c/n 74) left Argentina on 21Aug14 to Victorville having been stored since May 2014.  

A340-211, LV-ZPO (c/n 63) flew its last commercial service for Aerolineas on 05Sep14 and wasted no time in leaving Argentina for Victorville on 08Sep14. The timing of the aircraft's retirement was reportedly due to its requiring a major check, an expensive procedure which would have been uneconomical taking into consideration the aircraft's age and reduced market value.   

A340-211, LV-ZRA (c/n 85), the last of the four A340-200 series taken delivery of by Aerolineas in 1999, was stored in March 2014 and is reportedly still parked at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE).  

All four of the above A340-211's were delivered to Cathay Pacific in 1994/95 and flew for Philippine Airlines prior to joining the Aerolineas fleet in 1999.  They are being replaced on Aerolineas' long-haul routes by A330's.  There are few A340-200 series left in service worldwide.  
Aerolineas still operates several A340-300 series and there have been rumors during the last year that one A340 would be retained for use by the Fuerza Aerea Argentina, presumably in a VIP transport role.

This blog's editor thanks Linea ALA for the complete information on the recent movements of the above aircraft.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Alas Uruguay: Continues to Organize, Receiving One 737-300 in December

Alas Uruguay, the airline being started by former PLUNA employees, continues to organize with the start-up reportedly being in the second of five steps of certification by the Uruguayan Civil Aviation Directorate (DINACIA - Direccion Nacional de Aviacion Civil e Infraestructura Aeronautica) as of October.  

The carrier is said to have leased one 134/138-seat 737-300 from Ukraine with up to three more expected from the U.S.  The first example, reportedly UR-GAN (c/n 28569/2996) and currently operating with Ukraine International Airlines, is due in Montevideo (MVD) on December 15.  Typical lease payments for this type of aircraft range from US$ 80,000 - 130,000 monthly. 

Alas plans to start with charter flights followed by scheduled services to some of the former destinations operated to by PLUNA, some of which are currently served by BQB Lineas Aereas. These would include Asuncion, Paraguay, Santiago, Chile and several Brazilian points, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, but the "make-or-break" route for Alas will be the highly-profitable "Air Bridge" between Montevideo (MVD) and Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP).  Alas considers itself the successor airline to PLUNA and appears to be assuming that it will inherit the latter's route rights but some of the MVD-AEP slots have been granted to BQB, albeit on a temporary basis, while most of them have been taken over by Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral.  Taking the rights from BQB will presumably not be easy and negotiating with the Argentine authorities will be even more difficult. 

Alas' marketing strategy remains to be seen and will largely depend on the routes it operates but there has been talk of agreements with the Amadeus and SABRE global distribution systems.  

The carrier is being organized as a cooperative starting with 50 employees with eventual plans for 225 staff.  Start-up funding will come primarily from a US$ 15 million loan from the FONDES Uruguayan government development fund to be granted in five installments subject to the carrier meeting performance goals. The fund has already handed over the first installment of US$ 400,000.  The government has also declared Alas Uruguay to be of "national interest" qualifying the airline for tax exemptions.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of three new 737-800's, LV-FUB, LV-FQZ and LV-FUC, between August and November

Boeing delivered the following three aircraft to Aerolineas Argentinas between August and November of this year: 

737-8HX, LV-FUB (c/n 39893/5056) was delivered on 29Aug14.

737-8BK, LV-FQZ (c/n 41563/5086) departed Boeing Field (BFI) near Seattle on 23Sep14 and overnighted in Caracas (CCS) before arriving at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on the afternoon of 24Sep14.

737-8SH, LV-FUC (c/n 41347/5169) was delivered to Aerolineas at Boeing Field (BFI) on 19Nov14, also flying via Caracas (CCS) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) arriving the next day. This aircraft is being leased from Air Lease Corporation.

With these three aircraft, Aerolineas now has 22 737-700's and 14 737-800's in its fleet. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

PHOTO GALLERY: Argentine Fokker F-28's - #4 of 10+ - Aerolineas Argentinas LV-LRG (c/n 11046)

Aerolineas Argentinas F-28 Mk-1000, LV-LRG, (c/n 11046) at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP).  (Phil Perry Collection)

LV-LRG was originally delivered to Germanair on 10Mar72 as D-AGAB being transferred to Aerolineas Argentinas as LV-LRG four years later on 24Mar76.
Like sistership LV-LOC (c/n 11083), LV-LRG was scheduled to join the fleet of Austral in August 1991 and SASA (Sudamericana de Aviacion S.A.) in April 1994 but neither transfer was completed.  The aircraft was broken up in June 1996. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Amaszonas of Bolivia was scheduled to extend Santa Cruz (VVI) - Asuncion (ASU) service to Montevideo (MVD) 3x/weekly

Amaszonas of Bolivia was scheduled to increase Santa Cruz (VVI) - Asuncion (ASU) service from 4x/weekly to daily and extend three of those flights to Montevideo (MVD) during the past southern hemisphere winter but has still not implemented the changes as of this writing on 14Oct14.  Aircraft to be used would come from Amaszonas seven-strong 50-seat CRJ-200 fleet. 

Bolivia and Uruguay have been without a direct air connection since at least 2007 when Lloyd Aereo Boliviano ceased operations.   

Sources: via Eric Trum

Sunday, October 12, 2014

PHOTO GALLERY: Argentine Fairchild Metros - #7 of 20+ - LV-RBR (c/n AC-416)

Alas Rionegrinas Fairchild Swearingen SA-227-AC Metro III, LV-RBR, (c/n AC-416) at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) sometime in the 1990's.  (Phil Perry Collection)

Metro AC-416 was first delivered to Midstate Airlines of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA (near Chicago) as N177MA in 1981 and operated with the commuter airline until its closing in 1989 after which it flew as a company plane for a couple of corporate operators before finally joining SAPSE (Servicios Aereos Patagonicos, S.E.), parent of Alas Rionegrinas as LV-RBR in 1991.  

AC-416 operated with Alas Rionegrinas until its closing in 1997 and its last known location was Viedma (VDM) in derelict condition.

Photo of this aircraft operating for Midstate Airlines at Chicago O'Hare (ORD) as N177AM in August 1986:


Friday, October 10, 2014

EDITORIAL: Potential Boeing 787 Routes to Argentina & Uruguay

With the ever-increasing number of Boeing 787's being delivered to airlines, new routes are opening up worldwide that were previously economically unviable due to limited demand, such as Boston (BOS) - Tokyo Narita (NRT) by Japan Air Lines and Boston (BOS) - Beijing (PEK) operated by Hainan Airlines.

The 787 is ideal for long-range routes with limited passenger traffic that until recently could only be operated by larger and less fuel-efficient airliners, such as the 767-300ER, A340-500, 747-400, etc., but that were too large for the amount of demand on such routes. 

Thinking of Argentina and Uruguay, several routes come to mind that are now served on a limited basis, less efficiently than they could be, or not served at all.      

Montevideo (MVD) - Miami (MIA) is currently flown by American Airlines with 767-300's daily in the southern hemisphere summer and 6x/weekly the rest of the year but could probably be served much more efficiently and profitably with the 787 as there are probably many dates when the present flights are not very full. 

Montevideo (MVD) - Madrid (MAD) service was dropped by Iberia in 2013 and picked up by Air Europa with Iberia currently scheduled to restart service.  If the 787 were flown on this route the service would probably be more profitable and stable and less marginal like it is now which has resulted in airlines adding/dropping the route.      

Cordoba (COR) - Miami (MIA) would be an ideal route for American Airlines with 787's.  Indeed, American was seriously looking to start this route in the early 2000's but put these plans on hold after the 2001 Argentine economic crisis.  Cordoba, with a population of 1.2 million people, is Argentina's second-largest city after Buenos Aires and is known for its universities, extensive farming and its manufacturing industry, especially automobiles.  It is also located in Argentina's geographic center with important cities nearby, such as Rosario, the nation's third-largest city which would probably provide passenger traffic to Miami flights from Cordoba. 

Cordoba (COR) - Madrid (MAD) was flown by Iberia with A340's for 15 months until January 2012 but the Spanish carrier dropped the route due to lack of aircraft and marginal profitability despite good passenger loads.  Air Europa would like to start this route through a connecting hub that it is planning to establish in Salvador, Brazil (SSA) for flights from Madrid to several South American cities but it has yet to gain approval from the Argentine aviation authorities.  This route would be ideal on a non-stop basis with the more fuel-efficient 787 probably being a lot more profitable and sustainable than the A340 was.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Austral was set to introduce Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Florianopolis (FLN) Daily Service

Austral Lineas Aereas was set to introduce daily Embraer 190 service from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Florianopolis, Brazil (FLN) in August.  Sister airline Aerolineas Argentinas reportedly currently operates 1x/weekly service from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) to Florianopolis, Brazil (FLN) on Saturdays using 737-700's. 

The new service was scheduled to depart Ezeiza at 23:30 arriving at FLN in the early morning and arriving back in EZE at 04:20 thus putting the aircraft to use generating revenue when normally it would be parked overnight.

However, does not show either flight operating on any day of the week as of the day of this post.  

The new flights will see an increase of the Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral group's presence in Brazil which currently consists of 88 weekly flights.


Monday, October 6, 2014

PHOTO GALLERY: Argentine Fairchild Metros - #6 of 20+ - LV-MGF (c/n TC-253-201)

LAPA Fairchild Swearingen SA-226TC Metro II, LV-MGF, (c/n TC-253-201) in August 1979, apparently at an airport in Florida, USA.  (Phil Perry Collection)  

This aircraft first flew in 1978 and served with LAPA (Lineas Aereas Privadas Argentinas) for only one year before joining Inland Empire Airlines of California and eventually going on to fly for Britt Airways, Air Vantage and Superior Aviation.  Its last known operator was in 2009 where it flew for Carson Air of Canada as a freighter.

Photo of TC-253-201 flying for Inland Empire with registration N5457M in 1982. Note the similarity in paint scheme to LAPA:

Photo flying for Britt Airways in 1989:

With Carson Air in 2009:


Saturday, October 4, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: TAM increased Montevideo (MVD) to Brazil Service

TAM Airlines A320-232, PR-MBH, (c/n 2904)  (Phil Perry Photo)

TAM Airlines added three more flights per week from Montevideo (MVD) to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) effective 08Jun14 for a total of 3-4 flights per day plus it added new 4x/weekly service to Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG), effective 30Jun14, both using the carrier's A320 equipment. 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Iberia reinstated Madrid (MAD) - Montevideo (MVD) service on 01Sep14

A little over a year after dropping Madrid (MAD) - Montevideo (MVD) service when the carrier was going through financial difficulties, Iberia restarted the route on 01Sep14 3x/weekly with A340-300's.  The very first flight was operated by A340-642X, EC-LFS (c/n 1122) painted in the airline's new colors. 

Iberia's flights were Uruguay's only direct service to Europe at the time that the airline dropped the Madrid (MAD) route but Air Europa and Air France came in to fill the void shortly thereafter, the latter with same plane service to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) via Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE).   

Sources: via Eric Trum

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas was scheduled to substitute 737-800's for A340-300's between Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) and Caracas (CCS) but increase frequency effective 08Aug14

Aerolineas Argentinas was scheduled to downgrade the size of aircraft that it operates from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Caracas (CCS) from A340-300's to 737-800's, effective 08Aug14, but at the same time increase frequency on the route from 5x to 6x/week until 01Sep14, at which time the route was scheduled to go to daily service.

Source: via Eric Trum

Sunday, September 28, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of the last of four used A330's leased from ILFC in June

A330-223 LV-FNJ (c/n 300), the last of four A330's being leased from ILFC, arrived at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on 07Jun14.  This aircraft was first delivered to SABENA in 1999 and also served with VG Airlines and Malaysia Airlines before the current lease with Aerolineas Argentinas.  

The other three A330-223's, LV-FNI (c/n 290), LV-FNK (c/n 358), LV-FNL (c/n 364) were all delivered to Aerolineas in the latter part of last year. 

The Argentine airline is due to take delivery of four new A330-200's directly from Airbus in 2015 and 2016. 


Friday, September 26, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of 737-8HX LV-FUA (c/n 40548/4995) on 19Jul14

Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of 737-8HX LV-FUA (c/n 40548/4995), its 11th 737-800 and 33rd 737NG, on 19Jul14 at Boeing Field (BFI) from where it was flown to Caracas (CCS) and Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) arriving on 21Jul14. The aircraft is on lease from Aviation Capital Group of Newport Beach, CA.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Austral started Iguazu (IGR) - Rosario (ROS) - Cordoba (COR) service on 03Aug14

Austral Embraer 190AR, LV-CHO, (c/n 395), with flaps fully-extended as it lands at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 22Jan11.  (Phil Perry Photo)   

Austral Lineas Aereas added a stop in Rosario (ROS) to its existing Iguazu (IGR) - Cordoba (COR) service on 03Aug14.  

The route is being flown 2x/weekly as an Iguazu (IGR) - Rosario (ROS) - Cordoba (COR) roundtrip using Embraer 190's on Wednesdays and Sundays. 

The addition of the legs between Rosario (ROS) and Cordoba (COR) comes as bad news to Rosario-based SOL Lineas Aereas that has been flying the route with Saab 340's since the carrier's inception seven years ago.   


Monday, September 22, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: SOL Lineas Aereas Adds/Drops Routes to adapt to Competitive Market Changes

SOL Saab 340A, LV-BMD, (c/n 123) at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 01Oct10.  (Phil Perry Photo)   

SOL Lineas Aereas has made adjustments to its route structure to adapt to changes in the competitive marketplace, mostly by Aerolineas Argentinas and sister company Austral.

SOL dropped its "Oil Route", Cordoba (COR) - Mendoza (MDZ) - Neuquen (NQN) on 01Jul14 and with Austral adding the Rosario (ROS) - Cordoba (COR) sector, which was SOL's "bread and butter" route, SOL decided to drop Cordoba (COR) altogether, shifting equipment to reinforce Rosario (ROS) - Santa Fe (SFN).

The carrier also discontinued flights to Bariloche (BRC) and Esquel (EQS) in Patagonia and Ushuaia (USH) in southern Argentina on 20May14.

SOL's route system looked like this as of late July:

* Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Rosario (ROS), 15x/week

* Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Santa Fe (SFN), 11x/week

* Rosario (ROS) - Santa Fe (SFN)

* Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) multiple-stop route southward along the eastern seaboard of Argentina to Mar del Plata (MDQ), Bahia Blanca (BHI), Trelew (REL), Comodoro Rivadavia (CRD), Rio Gallegos (RGL), and Rio Grande (RGA) operated 5x/week.  

* Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Villa Gesell (VLG) seasonal service (summer)

All flights are operated with SOL's fleet of five Saab 340's.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Turkish has switched from the 777-200 to A330 to 777-300ER on the Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Istanbul (IST) route

During the last few months, Turkish Airlines changed the equipment it operates on the Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Istanbul (IST) route from the 777-200 to the A330, which features Comfort Class, to the 777-300ER with the airline's new Premium Class offering.   

Thursday, September 18, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: AR Jet 737-200 LV-ZYY - Still one 737-200 Flying in Argentina !

AR Jet is an Argentine charter airline based at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) that was founded in 2010.  It has flown its sole 737-236A, LV-ZYY, (c/n 21799/660) on a limited basis during that time, mostly for soccer teams and fans traveling to matches, such as for the Paraguayan Football Association in October 2013, the Boca Juniors - River Plate match in Cordoba in February 2014, the River Plate - San Lorenzo match in San Luis in May 2014 and other occasions as well. 
It was last spotted in Catamarca (CTC) in northwest Argentina on 31Jul14.

LV-ZYY, which was delivered to British Airways in 1980 as G-BGDJ also flew for Aerolineas Argentinas from 2002 to 2009.  It is believed to be the only 737-200 still in active service in Argentina.  

Photo of the aircraft in full AR Jet colors and titles in 2011:

Photo of LV-ZYY more recently in AR Jet colors but with no titles:


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Austral was due to start Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Santa Cruz, Bolivia (VVI) flights on 02Jul14

Aerolineas Argentinas' sister airline, Austral Lineas Aereas, was due to start 4x/weekly Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Santa Cruz, Bolivia (VVI) flights on 02Jul14 using its Embraer 190's but this service apparently had not started yet as of 26Jul14.  Aerolineas Argentinas was slated to take over the flights in August with 737-700's. 

Santa Cruz (VVI) would be the ninth international destination served from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) joining Montevideo (MVD) and Punta del Este (PDP) in Uruguay, Asuncion (ASU) and Santiago (SCL) plus the Brazilian airports of Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG), Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU), Florianopolis (FLN), and Porto Alegre (POA).

Prior to the opening of Aeroparque to increased regional international destinations in 2010 only Montevideo (MVD) and Punta del Este (PDP) were served from the downtown airport.  


Friday, September 12, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas retires several A340's

Aerolineas Argentinas retired several aging A340's from service earlier this year as it has taken delivery of the final A330's that it currently has on order. 

LV-ZRA A340-211 (c/n 085) which originally flew with Cathay Pacific and Philippine Airlines and passed to AR in 1999 was put into storage in March 2014. 

LV-ZPJ A340-211 (c/n 074) also originally flew with Cathay Pacific and Philippine Airlines and passed to AR in 1999 flying its last service with Aerolineas on 17May14 from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE).  This aircraft is scheduled to undergo a major check after which it is rumored that it will be transferred to the Fuerza Aerea Argentina to serve as a VIP transport.

LV-BIT A340-313 (c/n 093) was originally delivered to Air Canada in 1995 and also flew for BWIA and Caribbean Airlines before joining Aerolineas in 2007. It was scheduled to fly from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Goodyear Municipal Airport, Arizona, USA on 22May14 for storage and possible scrapping.  

Fellow A340-312 LV-BMT (c/n 048) has also been stored at Goodyear since December 2013.   


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: TAM reintroduced Cordoba (COR) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) service on 01Jul14

After a six-year absence from Cordoba (COR), TAM Brazilian Airlines reintroduced service to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) on 01Jul14 with 5x/weekly flights operated by A320 aircraft.  Service is expected to increase to daily flights by November. 

Cordoba (COR) is TAM's third city and fourth airport in Argentina with the carrier already flying A320 service to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) 3x/daily, Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) 2x/daily and Rosario (ROS) 1x/daily.  The airline also has flights to Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG) from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) 2x/daily.     

Sources: via Eric Trum