Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Irelandia Aviation looking to buy Andes Lineas Aereas to start an Argentine Low-Cost Carrier

Andes Lineas Aereas MD-83, LV-AYD (c/n 53015), taxis at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 21Jun16.  (Phil Perry Photo)   

Andes as it operates today might disappear if Irelandia Aviation succeeds in buying all or part of the carrier to launch a new LCC in Argentina. PROPOSED - NEVER STARTED - AS OF 30May20

Declan Ryan of Irelandia Aviation, the "airline development company" that has launched five different Low-Cost Carriers (LCC's), including Ryanair (Ireland), Allegiant (USA), Tiger Airways (Singapore), Viva Aerobus (Mexico) and Viva Colombia, was recently in Buenos Aires for the second time in two months for meetings with the Argentine Transportation Minister Guillermo Dietrich and Miguel Ziadi, the CEO of Salta, Argentina based Andes Lineas Aereas.

Irelandia wants to establish a low-cost carrier in Argentina now that the country is more open to new airline ventures under the new president and government that took power on 10Dec15 following approx. ten years of effectively being closed to any new carriers entering the market during the previous government.

Argentina - Air Travel Market that should be Triple its Current Size

The development company looks at Argentina as a severely underdeveloped air transportation market with only about 5-7% of Argentines having flown with the vast majority taking long-distance buses when traveling domestically.  According to Ryan, this results in "ridiculous" situations, such as students taking 20-hour bus rides from Buenos Aires to Bariloche (lakeside and mountainside resort near the Andes mountains) for their traditional end-of-school-year celebrations when they could cover the same distance in a 2-hour flight. 

Ryan pointed out that only 2.5% of Colombians had flown prior to LCC's entering the market there whereas today 10% have traveled by air.  On the other extreme, Spain, which has five LCC's, counts 70-80% of its citizenry as having flown.  Ryan estimates that his company starting an LCC in Argentina would triple the number of Argentines flying regularly to at least 20% of the population. 

Irelandia LCC entering Argentina through Andes like Avianca with MacAir Jet

Irelandia is looking at entering Argentina by the same means as Avianca did when it purchased MacAir Jet earlier this year, with Irelandia's acquisition target being Andes Lineas Aereas, an MD-80 operator with a fleet of five aircraft based in the northwestern Argentine city of Salta.  Ryan has indicated that it would take about five aircraft (presumably a more economical aircraft than Andes' MD-80's) and US$ 50 million to start an LCC in Argentina. 

Start up in 2017 using Alternative Airports

Target date for the new LCC startup is 2017 with a yet-to-be-defined route network that would consist of city pairs with lower-cost alternative airports that travelers would be willing to pay US$ 50 to fly between.  Ryan noted Cordoba (COR) and La Plata (LPG), located some 35 miles southeast of Argentina's capital Buenos Aires and serving a city of 700,000 in its own right, as interesting candidates for LCC service.                     

La Plata (LPG) has two runways but only one, 02/20, is in use with only half of its 4,679 ft. length currently available for flight operations.  Presumably the full runway could be developed for use plus its southwestern end is bordered by farmland that could possibly be purchased to extend its length.  The airport has a small terminal and ramp area but there is enough room on the existing airport property to expand the ramp significantly, build a reasonably-large terminal and add support facilities, such as hangars and parking for passenger vehicles. 

Obstacles to LCC's in Argentina

Although Declan Ryan sees plenty of opportunity in Argentina for LCC's, he notes that the following obstacles need to be overcome:

* Argentina currently has minimum airfare regulations that would need to be eliminated to allow LCC's to establish low enough airfares to stimulate market demand while still allowing for a profitable operation through efficient, cost-effective management.

* Nearly all of the airports in Argentina that have commercial service are run by Aeropuertos Argentinos 2000, a monopolistic private franchise, with fees that Ryan considers much too high, which are reportedly much higher than in neighboring countries.  In contrast, Colombia's airports are managed by four different companies, with airports competing with each other to attract airline service.       

* Argentina's airline labor unions are very strong making it difficult to introduce the idea of worker cross-utilization for multiple functionality in different job roles that would maximize efficiency and make it easier to offer low fares.         

More developments should be expected in the coming months. 

Sources: via Carlos Abella

Monday, June 27, 2016

FLEET UPDATE: LATAM Argentina adds 14th A320 to its fleet, LV-GLP (c/n 1355)

LATAM Chile recently transferred A320 CC-COF (c/n 1355) to LATAM Argentina where it has been re-registered as LV-GLP, the Argentine affiliate's 14th A320. The aircraft continues to carry LAN titles and the full LAN scheme.

The previous most recent addition to the LAN Argentina (now LATAM Argentina) fleet was on 29Oct14 when LAN Airlines CC-BAI (c/n 4543) was transferred to Argentina and re-registered as LV-FUX.  


Sunday, June 26, 2016

FLEET UPDATE: Amaszonas Uruguay's first CRJ-200 receives a Uruguayan registration

Amaszonas Uruguay's first aircraft, CRJ-200LR (c/n 7209), which was transferred from the carrier's parent company, Amaszonas of Bolivia, recently had its Bolivian registration CP-2969 cancelled and replaced with a new Uruguayan registration, CX-SDU.  

With the aircraft on the Uruguayan register, Amaszonas will now be able to start flying on the Montevideo (MVD) - Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) "Air Bridge" for which it has received authorization and expects to start flying in July. 


Friday, June 24, 2016

NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Avianca Argentina affiliate - Plans to Start Service on 01Dec16 with Six 70-Seat Turboprops

More details recently emerged about Avianca's planned Argentina affiliate at the Aviation Day Conference held in Buenos Aires in late May.  

Avianca CEO German Efromovich indicated that the new carrier, which has not been named yet, would start service on December 1, initially with eight 70-seat turboprops, probably ATR-72's or Q400's, on a route system centered on hubs at Cordoba (COR) and Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) plus a mini-hub at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), where the airline would feed Avianca's Colombia flights. 

The airline, to be headed by CEO Carlos Carlunga, the former head of Mac Air Jet, which Avianca purchased to gain a foothold in Argentina, expects to have a fleet of 18 turboprops and 250-300 employees by 2018, making an investment of US$ 100 million in Argentina during that time.  

Efromovich indicated that the carrier already has a route structure in mind that would be mostly secondary in nature, typically with 500 km long (312 miles) segments avoiding direct competition with the main carriers in Argentina (Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral and LATAM Argentina) by flying routes such as San Luis (LUQ) - Rio Cuarto (RCU) - Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP).  One of the few exceptions to this strategy would likely be the Cordoba (COR) - Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) route, which is the most heavily-traveled domestic route in the country. 

The new carrier expects that there will be a public route solicitation in August where it will apply to the ANAC Argentine aviation authority for the route rights it is seeking.  

Efromovich indicated that the process of putting together operations manuals, requesting authorizations, acquiring certifications, etc. was underway but the Argentine authorities have since indicated that they have not received any requests from the new carrier yet.             


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

PHOTO: LATAM Chile A319, CC-CPE, at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 21Jun16

LATAM Chile A319, CC-CPE (c/n 2321), taxis in the carrier's inaugural color scheme at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 21Jun16.  (Phil Perry Photo) 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas 737-7Q8 LV-CMK (c/n 28240/832), leaves fleet, to join Southwest Airlines

Aerolineas Argentinas 737-7Q8, LV-CMK (c/n 28240/832), taxis at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 14Aug14.  (Phil Perry Photo)

LV-CMK left Argentina on 02Jun16 on a Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Caracas (CCS) - Miami (MIA) - Boeing Paine Field (PAE) routing.  The aircraft will join five other ex-Aerolineas 737-700's that have gone to Southwest Airlines:

ex LV-CBG - (c/n 30235/672) - now N7838A
ex LV-CAM - (c/n 30243/919) - now N7839A
ex LV-CBS - (c/n 30236/715) - now N7840A 
ex LV-CCR - (c/n 30237/730) - now N7842A
ex LV-CPH - (c/n 28238/817) - now N7850A


Monday, June 6, 2016

FLEET UPDATE: Austral's 24th Embraer 190, LV-GBK, ex-Republic Airways, arrived at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 02Jun16

The second ex-Republic Airways E190 to join Austral's fleet, LV-GBK (c/n 291) ex-N165HQ, arrived at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on the evening of 02Jun16 having flown in from San Jose (SJO) via Lima (LIM) where it had undergone lengthy preparations for entry into service at the Costa Rican MRO COOPESA.

Austral actually took delivery of the plane from Republic on 23Jan16.  The aircraft, plus its sistership LV-GAQ (c/n 275) (see underwent extensive work at the Griffiss International Airport (RME) in Rome, New York and then at COOPESA in Costa Rica before finally arriving in Argentina.

LV-GBK is Austral's 24th Embraer 190 and only the second used E190 to enter its fleet with the other 22 airframes having been delivered factory-new from Brazil.