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

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