Norwegian, one of the largest and most formidable European low-cost carriers (LCC) with something of a "cut-throat" reputation, did not participate in the 27Dec16 Argentine route hearings but it is expected to make proposals at the second round of route hearings to be held in April.
Norwegian has indicated that it plans to invest US$ 2 billion (thousand million) in Argentina in the next decade while deploying 40 aircraft, presumably of the 737NG and/or MAX series, and employing 1,200 workers.
* Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Rio Cuarto (RCU) - eff 03Apr17 This service, which is currently operated by Austral using E190's on a Cordoba (COR) - Rio Cuarto (RCU) - Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) basis with 1x/daily round-trip will see the Cordoba (COR) legs dropped and will instead be operated 2x/daily from AEP to RCU round-trip, still by Austral E190's.
* "Corredor Atlantico" - Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Mar del Plata (MDQ) - Bahia Blanca (BHI) - Trelew (REL) - Comodoro Rivadavia (CRD) - Ushuaia (USH) - eff 03Apr17
Operated by Austral E190's, presumably 1x/daily. This flight will depart EZE at mid-morning to allow connections from intercontinental flights to points along the east coast of Argentina all the way south to Ushuaia (USH).
This concept is similar to the other three "corredor" multi-leg routes that Aerolineas operates connecting "interior" cities of the country; the "Sur", "Norte", and "Petrolero" with the latter connecting points related to the Argentine oil industry.
* Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Rome Fiumicino (FCO) - increased frequencies & aircraft change Effective 02May17, 5th weekly flight Effective 04Jun17, 6th weekly flight Effective 06Jul17, 7th weekly flight Aircraft type is changing from A340 to A330 on 01May17. * Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Barcelona (BCN) - increased frequencies & aircraft change Effective sometime during the northern summer season, increase from 4x/weekly to 5x/weekly, and change aircraft type from A340 to A330 in May.
Andes Lineas Aereas of Salta (SLA), which started flying with MD-80's in 2005, has always had a modest scheduled route network complemented with a lot of charter flying for sports teams and especially the student vacation market to the Bariloche (BRC) lake and mountain resort.
While most growth opportunities were stifled during the previous Argentine presidential administrations, the new growth-oriented air transportation policy in the country will apparently see the carrier's scheduled network grow substantially in the coming months.
Fleet Status & Update
Andes currently operates four MD-83's, all ex-Austral with two of them having been originally delivered to Aerolineas Argentinas' sister carrier in 1989/90.
LV-AYD (c/n 53015/1818)
LV-CCJ (c/n 49621/1495)
LV-WGM (c/n 49784/1627) - Austral original delivery in 1989
LV-WGN (c/n 49934/1764) - Austral original delivery in 1990
The carrier is expected to take delivery of two MD-83's (probably ex-Delta) and two 737-800's, tentatively ex-Malaysian, 9M-FFD (c/n 30007/746) and 9M-FFE (c/n 30567/761), both in storage since late 2016, with the first aircraft expected in May.
Route Status & Update
Andes' scheduled route network presently links Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) with Salta (SLA) and Jujuy (JUJ) in northwest Argentina plus Cordoba (COR) in the center and Puerto Madryn (PMY) on the Patagonian Atlantic coast. Mendoza (MDZ), in the western wine country, near Chile was just added on a twice-daily basis from AEP on 20Mar17.
The next destination to be added to its scheduled route network is Bariloche (BRC) from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) effective 16Jun17 to be followed tentatively by Iguazu Falls (IGR) and Comodoro Rivadavia (CRD). The 27Dec16 route hearings saw Andes granted routes that will see the carrier accumulate a network of 14 domestic destinations plus international service to Lima (LIM), Santiago (SCL) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU):
Andes Lineas Aereas has modified its titles and changed its logo (as illustrated above) and has applied the new titles to MD-83, LV-AYD (c/n 53015/1818), on both the fuselage and tail in what will apparently be a fleetwide modified scheme. This artist's rendering as published in the Sir Chandler blog shows profiles of the new scheme: http://www.sirchandler.com.ar/2017/03/andes-mete-pequeno-cambio-diseno-aviones/
LATAM Brasil A321-231, PT-MXF (c/n 4352), in TAM colors taxis at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 07Mar17. (Phil Perry Photo)
Two of the LATAM carriers flying out of Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), LATAM Brasil and LATAM Chile, have recently replaced the A320 with the larger A321 on several of their flights out of the Argentine airport. LATAM Brasil is operating the A321 on two of of its three daily flights from Aeroparque to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) at least into April (apparently not seasonal) and LATAM Chile is flying the A321 on at least one of its three daily flights to Santiago (SCL). Sources: www.latam.com http://www.sirchandler.com.ar/2017/03/los-airbus-321-se-acomodaron-aeroparque/
An A330-200 in the colors of new Spanish LCC Level. (Artist's Image)
The International Airlines Group (IAG), owner of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is planning to start a new intercontinental Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) named Level starting operations in June with A330-200's. The new airline will be based in Barcelona (BCN) with initial flights to Los Angeles (LAX), Oakland (OAK) (near San Francisco), Punta Cana (PUJ), and Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) starting in June 2017. Flights to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) will start on 17Jun17 operating 3x/weekly. The new carrier's website is www.flylevel.com Source: http://www.sirchandler.com.ar/2017/03/level-nombre-la-low-cost-iberia-arranca-junio-volar-barcelona-buenos-aires/
New details have emerged about Flyest, the new regional airline that was recently announced to start up in early April of this year, which came as a surprise since no previous information about the carrier was disclosed in any publication. Ownership The airline is presently owned by three individuals; Gustavo Cebreiro, Juan Nyffenegger and Horacio Darréformer, all of whom had minority stakes in Sol Lineas Aereas, the Rosario-based regional carrier which shut down in early 2016. The Angeli family, which had a majority stake in Sol, will reportedly not have any ownership in Flyest. The current owners will apparently soon sell 49% of the airline to Inversora Líneas Aéreas Internacionales (ILAI), the Argentine affiliate of Spanish regional carrier Air Nostrum, which was involved in a joint venture with Sol at the time of its shutdown last year. Sol Lineas Aereas AOC & Routes Flyest is reportedly in the process of acquiring Sol's operating certificate and route rights from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) to Mar del Plata (MDQ), Rosario (ROS), Rafaela (RAF), Santa Fe (SFN) and Montevideo (MVD) with the intention of starting service to Uruguay very soon on 07Apr17. Normally, if an Argentine carrier does not fly for six months it loses its route rights but plans for Flyest were apparently already underway at that point and the carrier's management asked for an extension of this deadline and received it. First Aircraft Flyest's first aircraft is one of the former Sol / Air Nostrum CRJ-200's, LV-GIJ (c/n 7466), which was parked in Asuncion (ASU) since early 2016 until it was recently flown to Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP). The aircraft sported Sol's last Austral-style color scheme without titles while it was parked in Paraguay but was quickly painted with Flyest titles before its flight to Argentina with no changes being made to the basic scheme. Four other CRJ-200's and 120 staff, many of them former Sol employees, are expected to join the carrier by year's end.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced the country's National Air Transportation Policy at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires on March 6.
Double the Number Of Argentine Domestic Passengers
The goal of the policy is to double the number of passengers traveling by air domestically within Argentina by the end of his presidential term in December 2019 from the current 10 million per year to 22 million annually. This increase in passenger traffic is expected to generate 25,000 jobs in direct and indirect employment in the airlines and related travel and tourism businesses. One of the reasons motivating this goal is that the air traffic of some of Argentina's neighbors has increased dramatically since 2000 while Argentina's has grown minimally. For example, as of 2000, approximately 18% of Argentines, Peruvians and Chileans had flown at least once in their lifetime. As of today, 21% of Argentines have flown while 30% of Peruvians and 56% of Chileans have, demonstrating that there is considerable room for growth in the Argentine domestic air travel market.
Three-Pronged Strategy The doubling of passengers would be accomplished through:
1) Increase the number of travelers carried domestically by Aerolineas Argentinas by 4 million per year (a 48% increase) through the addition of more aircraft currently on order that would be deployed on an increasing number of routes and with greater frequency.
2) Another 8 million annual passengers would be carried by other carriers, including existing airlines, such as Andes Lineas Aereas, American Jet and proposed new carriers, such as Flybondi, Avianca Argentina, Alas del Sur, Flyest and possibly even Norwegian and Irelandia Aviation (realeted to Ryanair).
3) A 22 thousand million (22 billion in the US) peso investment (approx. US$ 15 billion) in improving the infrastructure at 19 airports, including upgrades to navigation systems to facilitate operations in inclement weather.
Aerolineas Argentinas 737-8SH, LV-GUB (c/n 42060/6266), taxis at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 07Mar17. (Phil Perry Photo) This aircraft reportedly arrived at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on 15Feb17. It is Aerolineas' 27th 737-800 and is apparently leased from Air Lease Corporation.
The Argentine ANAC aviation authority route approvals stemming from the December 27 route hearings were confirmed by the Ministry of Transportation for Andes Lineas Aereas, American Jet and Alas del Sur but not for Flybondi or Avianca Argentina.
Flybondi Flybondi's approvals are on hold until the airline comes up with more concrete plans regarding the type of aircraft that it will fly and establishes its technical competence to operate. At the time of this posting the carrier announced that it plans to start service with the 737-800. No specific order or lease plans were announced but the company has apparently come to a customer support agreement with Boeing and plans to negotiate the acquisition of aircraft for the start of service in the second half of 2017. Julian Cook, Flybondi's CEO, further commented that the carrier will soon start negotiations for the acquisition of 50 Boeing 737 MAX 200's, which is a new variant of the 737 MAX series launched for Ryanair that can hold up to 200 seats.
Avianca Argentina Avianca Argentina's plans are suspended because the carrier established itself in Argentina through the purchase in 2016 of the air operator certificate of Macair, a small charter and contract carrier, owned by Argentine President Mauricio Macri's family. There are suspicions on the part of some parties, generally those of the political opposition, that the president's family has retained a financial stake in the new carrier, which would be a potential conflict of interest since the president is the key figure in determining Argentine national air policy and could inappropriately favor Avianca Argentina. An investigation is underway. Avianca CEO German Efromovich has questioned the delay and has reportedly threatened to sue the Argentine government if the delay goes on for an indefinite amount of time. In any case, the airline plans to start flying charters immediately with its two recently delivered ATR-72-600's. La Nacion newspaper recently revealed that Avianca bought Macair (in early 2016) for US$ 10 million to be paid in installments by 2018, with the purchase including the transfer of Macair's Air Operator Certificate, the company's hangar at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) and five aircraft (presumably its fleet of five Jetstream 32's). Sources: http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1990552-el-gobierno-postego-el-ingreso-de-avianca-al-mercado-low-cost-hasta-que-se-resuelva-el-conflicto-judicial http://www.siscoma.com.ar/online/aviacion/2017/avn170309/avn-170309.html http://www.siscoma.com.ar/online/aviacion/2017/avn170316/avn-170316.html
The five airlines had the following routes approved: * Flybondi The European-backed startup had its routes approved on the basis of operating its Buenos Aires-originating flights out of El Palomar (EPA) airport, located just west of the national capital. Routes include flights from El Palomar (EPA) to Cordoba (COR), Esquel (EQS), Iguazu (IGR), Mendoza (MDZ), Parana (PRA), San Luis (LUQ) and Viedma (VDM). Plus three routes from Cordoba (COR and two from Mendoza (MDZ). Flybondi also had two international routes approved to Santiago (SCL): Iguazu (IGR) - Santiago (SCL) Salta (SLA) - Santiago (SCL) And several to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU): Bariloche (BRC) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) Cordoba (COR) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) Iguazu (IGR) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) Mendoza (MDZ) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) Rosario (ROS) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) Salta (SLA) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU)
The ANAC Argentine aviation authority issued five route rights decisions on 13Feb17, one for each applicant; Flybondi, Avianca Argentina, Alas del Sur, Andes Lineas Aereas and American Jet. Andes has operated regularly scheduled and charter flights in Argentina since 2006 and American Jet has operated charter flights for the oil and mining industries from the carrier's Neuquen (NQN) base and in the north of Argentina for a number of years, but the other carriers would be new start-ups with business plans that call for them to be Low-Cost Carriers (LCC) with Flybondi's management team probably having the strongest backgrounds to launch a true low cost carrier. Flybondi's principals include CEO Julian Cook (founder and ex-CEO of Swiss carrier FlyBaboo), Ryanair board member and ex-COO Michael Cawley, ex-Air Canada CEO Montie Brewer, and British Airways City Flyer Express founder and ex-chairman Robert Wright. 135 out of the carriers' combined 156 route requests were approved, with four of the five airlines having all of their requests ok'd, with the exception being Flybondi, which wanted more routes than all of the other carriers combined. It had 78 out of 99 routes approved. Now the carriers will have 180 days to demonstrate their technical capacity to start service, including an indication of what types of aircraft they will operate and how many. They do not have to start all of the routes immediately. With the route rights being in effect for 15 years, they can start most of them sometime in the future. Also, international routes will require the approval of the destination countries' aviation authorities for service to start. The routes were mostly approved on the basis of the following criteria, many of which were determined to protect existing service by Aerolineas Argentinas and LATAM Argentina and avoid overcapacity. * Routes with No Current Service For example, Flybondi was approved to fly to Santiago (SCL) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) from both Salta (SLA) and Iguazu (IGR), neither of which currently has service to the Chilean and Brazilian airports. * Intermediate Stops The airlines were usually authorized to fly routes with existing service only if at least one intermediate stop is included to avoid competing directly with existing Aerolineas Argentinas' non-stop flights. For example, Andes was approved to fly from Buenos Aires to both Lima (LIM) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) but only with a stop in Cordoba (COR) in both cases. * Multiple Legs Closely related to the principle of intermediate stops, routes with several stops were also favored, again to protect Aerolineas. Using another example from Andes: The carrier was approved to fly Buenos Aires - Rosario (ROS) - Resistencia (RES) - Posadas (PSS) - Iguazu (IGR) instead of the popular non-stop Buenos Aires - Iguazu (IGR) route already flown by Aerolineas and LATAM Argentina.
Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of its 10th A330, LV-GKP (c/n 634), on 10Feb17.
According to the blog Linea ALA, four of Aerolineas' A330's are capable of flying ETOPS (extended range twin operations) from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO), the airline's longest route.
They are the four A330-202 and 203 models, LV-FVH, LV-FVI, LV-GHQ, LV-GIF, with the four A330-223's, LV-FNI, LV-FNJ, LV-FNK andLV-FNL not authorized for transatlantic flight. Presumably, two of the most recently delivered A330's, LV-GKO and LV-GKP, being -203 models, will be able to fly transatlantic.
Operating 2x/weekly to Porlamar on Venezuela's Margarita Island until the end of the southern hemisphere summer in late March using 747-400, EC-KXN (c/n 25703/1025) leased from the Spanish charter carrier Wamos.
* Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Manaus (MAO) - eff 04Feb17 Operated 1x/weekly using 737-800's * Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Belo Horizonte (CNF) - eff 05Mar17
Photo of Flyest CRJ-200 at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) at 11:30am on the morning of 07Mar17. The aircraft reportedly arrived at the city airport only an hour earlier at 10:20am from Asuncion (ASU) where it had been parked for over a year. (Phil Perry Photo) This plane is presumably LV-GIJ (c/n 7466), which flew with Sol Lineas Aereas in a joint venture with Air Nostrum of Spain that also involved a code-sharing marketing agreement with Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral Lineas Aereas that resulted in the aircraft being painted in Austral colors although with Sol titles. The venture only lasted from late 2015 into early 2016 when the change of presidency in Argentina and resulting new management that took over at Aerolineas / Austral quickly put an end to the agreement on January 15, 2016. Three CRJ-200's had been delivered by Air Nostrum to Argentina by the time of the closure with two being returned to Europe soon after the shutdown but with LV-GIJ being parked in Asuncion (ASU) ever since then. Flyest has seemingly "come out of nowhere" while five other carriers participated in the much-publicized late December 2016 public route hearings. According to La Nacion newspaper, Flyest will put four CRJ-200's into service between Buenos Aires (Aeroparque?) and Mar del Plata (MDQ), Rosario (ROS), Santa Fe (SFN) and Montevideo (MVD) with flights starting during the next month ! The carrier will reportedly be backed by US$ 45 million from Spanish investors (Air Nostrum, according to the blog Linea Ala) and employ 120 pilots, crew members and other staff. Sources: http://linea-ala.blogspot.com.ar/2017/02/air-nostrum-en-argentina.html http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1990886-llego-el-primer-avion-de-flyest-la-nueva-linea-aerea-que-volara-a-santa-fe-mar-del-plata-y-rosario
Air Europa has been introducing the 787-8 aircraft on its routes from Madrid to Latin America, including to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) and Montevideo (MVD). * Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Madrid (MAD) - eff 11Jan17 Route now operated 1x/daily using 787-8's. * Montevideo (MVD) - Madrid (MAD) - eff 23Dec16 - 10Jan17 + 24May17 - 30Jun17 Replacing their usual A330 services with 787-8 on a 3x/weekly basis during the above time periods.
Aviacion News indicated back in September that this flight would start operating 2x/weekly in November 2016 using BAe 146-200's and Air Fleets lists the Chilean carrier as having a fleet composed of 2 737-200's and 6 BAe 146-200 / RJ85 / RJ100 but Flight Stats indicates that these segments are operating with DHC-6 Twin Otters with the Aerovias DAP website confirming that they have this aircraft type in their fleet. The purpose of this flight is to transport passengers to connect with cruises sailing from Ushuaia on the scenic Beagle Channel.
LV-CSC taxis at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 20Jun14. (Phil Perry Photo)
Aerolineas Argentinas' 737-700's continue to leave its fleet with all of them going to Southwest Airlines in the United States so far, according to airfleets.net. The most recent -700 to finish flying with Aerolineas is LV-CSC (c/n 30630/1032) which flew its last commercial flight with the carrier on 25Dec16, Christmas Day. After undergoing checks and preparations the aircraft flew to the United States on 08Feb17 to join Southwest. LV-CSC was delivered to Virgin Blue Airlines on 17Dec01 flying with the carrier and its successor Virgin Australia until joining Aerolineas on 25Feb12. Aerolineas Argentinas' 737-700 fleet is being replaced with factory-new 737-800's.