Wednesday, July 30, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of 737-8BK, LV-FRQ, (c/n 41561/4860) on 10Apr14

Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of another 737-800, LV-FRQ, (c/n 41561/4860) on 10Apr14 at Boeing Field near Seattle. WA.  The aircraft departed on it delivery flight that same day to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) via Caracas (CCS).  

This is the ninth 737-800 and 31st 737NG series to join the Aerolineas fleet.

Photo and more details on the aircraft:


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ROUTE UPDATES: Macair Jetstream 32P Regional Operations

Macair Jetstream 32P, LV-ZST (c/n 941) rests at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 20Jun14.  (Phil Perry Photo)  

Macair, which is based at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), has flown extensive subservices in the past for two airlines, Lineas Aereas Entre Rios and AeroChaco, based in the Argentine provinces of Entre Rios and Chaco located northwest of Buenos Aires but appears to be currently flying regional Jetstream 32P services in its own right.

Current routes are highlighted by two "triangle" patterns from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) to Sunchales (NCJ), continuing to Villa Maria (VMR) and back to AEP plus AEP to Goya (OYA), continuing to Reconquista (RCQ) and also back to AEP.  Services are flown only on weekdays catering to business travelers.  

Some simple roundtrips from AEP to Sunchales (NCJ) and Villa Maria (VMR) are also flown.  

Flights to Goya (OYA) and Reconquista (RCQ) were suspended in August 2013 because of the moratorium on regional aircraft with fewer than 30 seats at Aeroparque but the airline gained a waiver to this rule.

Macair has six Jetstreams in its regional fleet; LV-ZOW (c/n 869), LV-ZPW (c/n 861), LV-ZPZ (c/n 931), LV-ZRL (c/n 928), LV-ZSB (c/n 942) and LV-ZST (c/n 941). 


Sunday, July 27, 2014

BQB Lineas Aereas Cutting Routes, Reducing Some Staff & possibly Canceling A319 Lease

It all started on Wednesday, July 23 when the Uruguayan football / soccer club Defensor Sporting's return flight from Asuncion (ASU) to Montevideo (MVD) after a match was supposedly delayed for weather reasons.  But when the delay became indefinite, concerns started to mount that something more than the weather was at play.  The BQB aircraft did finally arrive the following day to fly the team home but the delay set off a chain of events revealing changes and possibly problems at the airline.

While BQB has announced the arrival of three A319's and the introduction of many new services from Montevideo (MVD) the last few months, only one such aircraft has arrived and only a handful of the destinations are currently served; Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), Asuncion (ASU), Curitiba (CWB), and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU).  Destinations that have seen service suspended include Porto Alegre (POA), Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG) and Santiago (SCL).  Furthermore, it appears that Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), Curitiba (CWB), and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) will be dropped, though Porto Alegre (POA) will apparently be added back on.  

Additionally, 12 pilots have been laid off / made redundant, at least on a temporary basis.  There have been rumors that the A319 lease has been cancelled but that is uncertain.  The Uruguayan newspaper El Pais quotes sources at the airline as saying that the carrier is not having financial problems but is merely adapting to "changed circumstances".  Both claims appear to be plausible as BQB is part of the Buquebus group that operates very successful ferry services between Argentina and Uruguay plus certain destinations out of BQB's Montevideo base are becoming more competitive, such as Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) where TAM is adding substantial new service.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

ROUTE UPDATES: BQB Lineas Aereas - Growing Route Network

BQB Lineas Aereas of Uruguay, owned by the Buquebus Ferry Lines, has been growing steadily in the last few years, especially since the collapse of PLUNA in July 2012.   

Starting with two ATR-72-212A's, CX-JCL (c/n 805) and CX-JPL (c/n 816), in early 2010, the airline added two more ATR-72's, CX-LFL (c/n 570) and CX-POS (c/n 636) in 2013 plus a Vueling A320 that operated for four months with BQB in late 2013 / early 2014 prior to being replaced on 10May14 with an A319, CX-SAN (c/n 1703) leased from Air Lease Corporation.  

As of late March 2014, BQB operated the following routes and frequencies: 

Montevideo (MVD) to:


Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - 14 weekly flights with ATR-72
Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - 7 weekly flights with ATR-72


Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) - 5 weekly flights with A320 
Rio de Janeiro (GIG) - 5 weekly flights with A320
Porto Alegre (POA) - 6 weekly flights with ATR-72
Curitiba (CWB) - 5 weekly flights with ATR-72


Santiago (SCL) - 6 weekly flights with A320


Asuncion (ASU) - 6 weekly flights with A320


Thursday, July 24, 2014

ex-Austral MD-83, LV-BHN, (c/n 53190) crashes in Mali flying with Swiftair for Air Algerie as EC-LTV

ex-Austral MD-83 (c/n 53190) that crashed in Mali on 24Jul14 while flying with Swiftair on a wet-lease to Air Algerie.  Photo was taken at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 05Sep10.  (Phil Perry Photo)


ROUTE UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas finally started 2nd A330 flight from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Miami (MIA) in July

Aerolineas Argentinas announced in late March that it would delay the start of a second A330-200 flight from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Miami (MIA) from 01May14 until 01Jun14.  Checking the website, as of 01Jul14 the carrier still operated one flight each with the A330 and A340 on the route but as of 23Jul14 both flights were operated with the A330. 

Sources: via Eric Trum

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: BQB Lineas Aereas recieved its first A319, CX-SAN, on 09May14

This is a photo of Vueling A320, EC-JTQ, (c/n 2794) apparently photoshopped with the BQB colors since it is not the one that the airline leased from Vueling earlier this year.  (Photo: BQB)  

BQB's first A319-132, CX-SAN, (c/n 1703) arrived in Montevideo (MVD) on 11May14 on delivery from Bordeaux. France (BOD), via Espargos, Ilha do Sal, Cape Verde (SID) and Recife, Brazil (REC).  
The aircraft, which is on lease from Air Lease Corporation, was first delivered to TAM on 31May02 as PR-MAI with which it flew until December 2013 when it was stored until recently.

BQB was expecting to make good use of the new aircraft, especially with its 144 all-economy class seating for charters to the Uruguayan soccer team games at the World Cup in Brazil.   

Photo of CX-SAN at Ilha do Sal (SID) on 09May14:


Sunday, July 20, 2014

American Airlines 777-200 inbound to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on 14Jul14 diverts to Mendoza (MDZ)

American Airlines 777-223ER, N778AN, (c/n 29587/223) scheduled to arrive at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) from Miami (MIA) on 14Jul14 diverted to Mendoza (MDZ) due to fog at EZE and also at the usual alternate airports of Montevideo (MVD) and Cordoba (COR).  Even Rosario (ROS), which would be a possible alternate was fogged in.   

As a result, the 777-200 diverted to Mendoza (MDZ) some 700 miles (1120km) due west of Buenos Aires along the Andes mountains near the Chilean border. The aircraft arrived at MDZ at 09:57am and did not depart until 12:31am of 15Jul14 finally arriving at EZE at 1:15am. The long delay was presumably due to flight crew rest regulations.

Photo of N778AZ at Mendoza (MDZ) (scroll down):


Friday, July 18, 2014

PHOTO GALLERY: Argentine Fokker F-28's - #2 of 10+ - Aerolineas Argentinas LV-LOA (c/n 11085)

Aerolineas Argentinas F-28 Mk-1000, LV-LOA (c/n 11085) at Montevideo (MVD).  Note the small "Aerolineas Argentinas" titles.  (Phil Perry Collection)  

LV-LOA at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP).  Note the large "Aerolineas Argentinas" titles. (Phil Perry Collection)  

Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of LV-LOA directly from the Fokker factory in Holland on 13Jan75 flying its entire career for AR except for eight months in 1984 when it was reregistered as HK-3126X and leased to ACES Colombia.

On 16Jul86 the aircraft exited the runway when landing at Ushuaia (USH), the world's southernmost international airport.  Reports indicate that the runway had some ice accumulation and one eyewitness claimed the aircraft landed long.  LV-LOA was repaired and returned to service until its retirement in the 1990's and it was scrapped at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) in 1996. 

Photos of the aircraft resting on an embankment on the side of the runway almost in the water of the adjacent bay:

Photo of HK-3126X:


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

News from March: Aeropuertos Argentinos 2000 inaugurated Terminals 3 & 4 at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on March 26

The new terminals at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) under construction in October 2012.  (Phil Perry Photo)   

March 26 saw the official opening of Terminals 3 + 4 at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) by the airport operator Aeropuertos Argentinos 2000.  

The new 600 million peso (US$ 75 million at the official exchange rate) terminals will add 35,000 square meters (400,000 sq. ft.) of operational space at the facility, doubling its capacity overnight.  Additionally, five new jetways and four new baggage carousels have been added with total check-in positions increasing to 45.  

The new buildings have seven stories in all with the ground level floor for arrivals, first floor for departures and floors 2-6 for administrative offices. The international departures area has increased from 1,260 square meters and four gates (three remote and one jetway) to 3,030 sq. meters and six gates (four remote and two jetways).  The buildings are attached to the existing terminal for seamless integration as if they were an extension of it.  

The additional space will help Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) accommodate growth; in 2013 the airport handled 9,552,504 passengers, an increase of 7.9% over 2012 with growth expected to continue.  In particular, new regional international service has been added in recent years, especially to Brazil with both GOL and TAM having started service in 2010.  


Monday, July 14, 2014

Aerolineas Argentinas 737-700, LV-CSI, sticker changed to "Gracias Argentina"

Aerolineas Argentinas 737-700, LV-CSI, (c/n 30707/975), one of two aircraft painted in a special World Cup scheme (the other is LV-CPH, c/n 28238/817) had its "Vamos Argentina" stickers changed to "Gracias Argentina" on both sides of the aircraft on 13Jul14, just prior to the World Cup final match between Argentina and Germany. 

View of the left side:

Photographer Unknown 

View of the right side:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

ROUTE UPDATES: Aerolineas Argentinas Charter Flights to the World Cup Finals

Cabecera Norte reports that Aerolineas Argentinas will operate nine charter flights from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) and Ezeiza (EZE) to Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG) for the World Cup Final Match between Argentina and Germany.

The flights will operate as follows: 

Friday, July 11:

2 flights from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) using 737-800

Saturday, July 12:

3 flights from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) using 737-800
1 flight from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) using A340

Sunday, July 13:

2 flights from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) using 737-800
1 flight from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) using A340

Return flights will operate mostly on the early morning hours of Monday, June 14 and throughout the rest of the day too.   


Friday, July 11, 2014

UTair 767 Pilots detail apparent Runway Incursion by Aerolineas Argentinas A340 at Barcelona (BCN)

It has been referred to as a "near miss" and "runway incursion" but as far as the editor of this blog knows it has not been officially established that the incident at Barcelona (BCN) on Saturday, 05Jul14 involving a UTair 767-300 and an Aerolineas Argentinas A340 was either one of these types of events.

However, according to the pilots of the UTair plane, the Aerolineas A340 was instructed by ATC to cross Runway 02 AFTER the UTair aircraft landed but for some reason the pilots of the Argentine aircraft crossed BEFORE the Russian airliner touched down on the runway.  

UTair co-pilot Kirill Kuzmin, told the Russian newspaper "Izvestia"

"Before getting close to the runway we heard the air traffic controller's command allowing Argentinians to cross the runway after we had landed. The Argentinians repeated the comment which meant that they heard and accepted it.  But then suddenly - and without a clear reason - the Argentinians got onto the runway just as our altitude was going below 100 metres".

He went on to comment about the Barcelona (BCN) air traffic control:

"The air traffic controller clearly got confused. He went silent. We had nothing else to do than go on a second round. We have worked on this situation many times during training."

Kuzmin went on to claim that the air traffic controller "apologized", saying that the incident had been a "failure".

The UTair flight's captain, Nikolay Limarev, indicated that the Barcelona incident "could have been serious if the weather was no clear as it was on that day" allowing the UTair plane to see the Aerolineas A340 and execute the go-around in time. 

UTair has said that the incident is under "investigation".

In fairness, it would be interesting to hear the Aerolineas' pilots side of the story.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

ROUTE UPDATES: More Info on World Cup Charters to Semifinals: Aerolineas Argentinas operated 22 flights, Andes Lineas Aereas 5 flights

Aviacion News reports that Aerolineas Argentinas operated 22 charters from Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) for the World Cup semifinal match between Argentina and Holland on 09Jul14.  The airline operated nine 737-700, eight 737-800, four Embraer 190, and one A340 flight to the Brazilian airport in the couple of days prior to the match and the matchday itself.   

Additionally, Andes Lineas Aereas flew five MD-80 charters to GRU.    

These were very profitable flights with the Buenos Aires - Sao Paulo airfares reportedly being 21000 Argentine pesos or US$ 2576 at the official exchange rate !


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas adds 10 Flights from Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo for World Cup semifinal against Holland on 09Jul14

Aerolineas Argentinas added seven extra sections from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) and three from Ezeiza (EZE) to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) on 08Jul14 and 09Jul14 for the World Cup semifinal game of the Argentine national team against Holland.  All of the flights are scheduled to return on 10Jul14, some of them shortly after midnight not too long after the game is over.  The AEP flights will all be operated by 737-700's but at least one of the flights from EZE will be operated by an A340.  

These flights are in addition to the normal 20 or so flights between Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) operated each day by Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral, LAN Argentina, GOL, TAM and even Qatar Airways and Turkish.  Additionally, TAM flies from Rosario (ROS) and both GOL and TAM fly from Cordoba (COR) to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU).  

Below is an advertisement that appeared with details on the extra flights:   


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Aerolineas Argentinas Press Release: "Aerolíneas Argentinas clarifies on alleged incident at Barcelona El Prat Airport"

Text of Aerolineas Argentinas' press release regarding the incident with the UTair 767-300 on Saturday, 05Jul14 at Barcelona's El Prat Airport (BCN):

"Aerolíneas Argentinas clarifies that in the alleged incident at El Prat airport in Barcelona on Saturday 5 July, involving an aircraft of the Russian airline UTair and an Aerolíneas Argentinas aircraft, there was no risk at any time.

This has been corroborated by the manager of the Spanish airports operator AENA (Spanish Airports and Air Navigation) who initially reported that "both planes were where they should be."

Moreover, a spokesman of AENA also said that "the landing of the UTair aircraft could have been done without risk, since both aircraft were in the proper place, with enough distance between them."

This is consistent with the report made by the captain of the Aerolineas Argentinas aircraft, who said the AR plane followed the instructions of El Prat control tower.

This morning AENA issued a statement that ensures that the "go-around" performed by the Russian aircraft "is a standard procedure, with all the guarantees of safety".

Thus Aerolineas Argentinas clarifies that the situation recorded by a plane spotter and widely publicized by the media, related to flight AR 1163 on Saturday 5 July, did not involve any risk."

Cecilia Scordo
Jefe de Relaciones Institucionales y Prensa
Aerolíneas Argentinas S.A
Bouchard 547, 4 Piso (1106)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
00 54 11 41303085



If it is true that "there was no risk at any time" and that "the landing of the UTair aircraft could have been done without risk, since both aircraft were in the proper place, with enough distance between them." then why did the UTair pilot execute a "go-around" ?  An excess of caution ?

Also, it seems odd that an airline would comment on an incident prior to the conclusion of an investigation, assuming that an investigation is taking place.  

It could be that the Aerolineas Argentinas press release is correct but it seems premature to be making such sweeping declarations.  It is the opinion of the editor of this blog that more answers are needed first. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Aerolineas Argentinas A340 comes dangerously close to a UT Air 767-300 at Barcelona (BCN)

Aerolineas Argentinas A340-313X, LV-FPV, (c/n 193) sporting the "Skyteam" color scheme crossed in front of a UT Air 767-306ER, VQ-BSX, (c/n 27612/647) on final approach to Barcelona El Prat Airport's (BCN) Runway 02 on the morning of Saturday, 05Jul14.  

While some experts say that it was likely that the A340 would have crossed the runway before the 767-300 reached that point, the 767 still had to abort its approach and perform a go-around to approach and finally land.  

The Aerolineas A340 was reportedly following ATC instructions to taxi to Runway 25R so ATC had primary responsibility for the incident but it seems that the first officer sitting on the right side of the aircraft should have seen the approaching 767.  The Aerolineas pilots will presumably be interviewed after this incident and it will be interesting to see what they have to say about this serious incident.

Video of the incident:


Tom Sheehan - Boston Airliner Spotters Meetup Group

Sunday, July 6, 2014

ROUTE UPDATE: GOL started Fortaleza (FOR) - Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) service on 10May14

GOL Transportes Aereos started service from Fortaleza, Brazil (FOR) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on 10May14.  Flights are operated roundtrip once per week on Saturdays using the carrier's 737-800 aircraft.  

The new service has come about as a result of a reduction in the fuel tax by the Ceará State Tourism Department for Brazilian airlines starting new international services from the airport. 

Gol has 77 flights per week between Argentina and Brazil, more than any other airline, linking Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) and Aeroparque (AEP) plus Cordoba (COR) to six Brazilian airports: Curitiba (CWB), Florianopolis (FLN), Fortaleza (FOR), Porto Alegre (POA), Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG) and Sao Paulo (GRU).    

Sources: via Eric Trum

Friday, July 4, 2014

Alas Uruguay approved for US$ 15 million loan from FONDES Uruguayan Government Development Fund; hopes to lease 3 737-300's

The FONDES Uruguayan development fund approved in late May Alas Uruguay's application for a US$ 15 million loan that will be used to finance the lease of 3-4 737-300's by the new Uruguayan carrier.  The loan will be granted in five installments totaling US$ 3.78 million subject to the carrier meeting certain development goals with the US$ 11.22 million balance being subject to financial requirements being met. 

Soon after this, Uruguay's Aeronautical Commission approved Alas Uruguay's operational plan contingent upon the carrier meeting the above-mentioned objectives.  Should Alas Uruguay fail in this regard the FONDES would discontinue funding and the Aeronautical Commission would rescind its approval halting the carrier's startup plans.

The next step is for Alas Uruguay to apply with the Uruguayan Aviation Administration (Dirección Nacional de Aviación Civil e Infraestructura) for certification to operate the 737-300's allowing the airline to finalize its lease agreement with the lessor.       

Staff from the carrier have been writing manuals and making other preparations for the carrier's hoped-for start of service later this year as a charter airline followed by scheduled service from Montevideo to Asuncion, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and especially Buenos Aires Aeroparque with up to 35 weekly frequencies which was PLUNA's most profitable route. Routes to be added later would include Cordoba, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.     

With many of the airline's crews having flown 737-200's and a sole 737-300 while at PLUNA, the training process is simpler than if they had had no previous experience with the types.   

Editor's Note:  Alas Uruguay's plans call for it to compete head on with BQB Lineas Aereas on many routes but it seems doubtful that there is enough traffic on these city pairs to support two carriers, which looks especially doubtful for Alas Uruguay going up against the Buquebus Travel Group's financial strength.  Also, getting approval for anywhere near 35 weekly frequencies to Buenos Aires will be impossible given the Argentine government's protectionism of Aerolineas Argentinas.          


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

FLEET UPDATE: Seven ex-PLUNA CRJ-900's to be sold to Strategic Air Finance of Miami for US$ 77 million

The seven company-owned ex-PLUNA CRJ-900's that have been parked unused in Montevideo (MVD) since July 2012 have been sold to SAF (Strategic Air Finance), an aircraft leasing company of Miami, Florida for US$ 11 million each.  

The aircraft, nearly all of which were delivered in 2008, were originally purchased for US$ 29 million each and assessed at US$ 19 million per aircraft in late 2012 when they were unsuccessfully put up for auction.  The Asociación Uruguaya de Peritos (AUPE) overseeing PLUNA's bankruptcy proceedings received offers from five parties for the aircraft with AUPE recommending SAF's offer as the one with the best price and overall terms.     

Proceeds from the sale will go to settling claims by creditors of the defunct airline.    

Two of the aircraft are due to be taken by SAF in August with the remainder gradually by the end of the year.  

The various bodies that oversaw PLUNA's liquidation spent a total of US$ 6.5 million on maintaining both the seven owned CRJ-900's and the six leased examples that were returned to their manufacturer, Bombardier, in December 2012. 

The seven aircraft being sold 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)