Tuesday, October 18, 2016

FLEET UPDATE: Alas Uruguay returns one 737-300, drops Asuncion (ASU), might return 2nd 737-300

Alas Uruguay continues to soldier on flying the Montevideo (MVD) - Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) route 2x/daily on most days but recently returned 737-33R, CX-OAB (c/n 28869/2887) to lessor Aergo Group and it also stopped flying its only other route from Montevideo (MVD) to Asuncion (ASU).  

CX-OAB flew directly from Montevideo (MVD) to Santiago (SCL) on 24Aug16 where it has joined the fleet of Chilean carrier Latin American Wings. Additionally, Alas Uruguay was at one point without any operational aircraft for several days in late September while 737-36N, CX-OAA (c/n 28569/2996) was out of service pending some work and the only other plane in the carrier's fleet 737-36N, CX-OAC (c/n 28563/2921) had a defective wing part with no replacement available until a few days later when a spare arrived from the United States.

As of August, the airline had a load factor of 53%, lower than the break-even number of 67%, but still above the level projected in the carrier's business plan at this stage in its history.  65% of Alas' passengers are Uruguayan but the number of Argentines traveling on the airline is expected to go up as it becomes better known in that country.       

In addition to stiff competition from Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral on the Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Montevideo (MVD) "Air Bridge", Alas Uruguay also has a new competitor on the route, Amaszonas Uruguay, the new Uruguayan affiliate of the Bolivian carrier Amaszonas, that is operating 2x/daily CRJ-200 service between the two cities.      

The latest rumors are that CX-OAA might be returned to GECAS soon since the one remaining aircraft would be enough to operate the "Air Bridge" 2x/daily flights, although that would leave no room to spare in case of a mechanical problem with the plane, in which case passengers would have to be redirected to the other two carriers on the route.



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