Saturday, December 30, 2017

ROUTE UPDATES: Aerolineas Argentinas introduced the 737 MAX 8 into service on 01Dec17; future route plans

Aerolineas Argentinas 737 MAX 8, LV-GVD (c/n 64207/6661), taxis in at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 15Dec17. (Phil Perry Photo)

Aerolineas Argentinas' first 737 MAX 8, LV-GVD (c/n 64207/6661), entered regular airline service on 01Dec17 when it operated a Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Mendoza (MDZ) round-trip service, eight days after arriving at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on its delivery flight on 23Nov17.  Aerolineas became the first Latin American airline to put the 737 MAX 8 into service. 

LV-GVD was officially presented to the press at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on 04Dec17 and reportedly operated numerous route-proving flights to several  Argentine domestic airports in late November, including Bariloche (BRC), Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), Cordoba (COR), Iguazu (IGR), Mendoza (MDZ), Neuquen (NQN), Resistencia (RES), Rio Gallegos (RGL) and Salta (SLA).  

Aerolineas converted 11 of 20 737-800's ordered several years ago to 737 MAX 8's which will be delivered in the next 2-3 years.  The next four MAX 8's to be delivered, all expected in 2018 are:

LV-GVE (c/n 64208/6717) 
LV-HKU (c/n 44293/6753) 
LV-HKV (c/n 44294/6807)
LV-HKW (c/n 44296/XXXX) 

All of the aircraft are being leased from Aviation Capital Group.

According to Routes Online (via Eric Trum) initial routes for the 737 MAX 8 in December 2017 / January 2018 include:

eff 10Dec17: Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Cordoba (COR)
eff 11Dec17: Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Mendoza (MDZ)
eff 11Dec17: Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Tucuman (TUC)
eff 17Dec17: Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Neuquen (NQN)
eff 18Dec17: Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Iguazu (IGR)
eff 30Dec17: Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Salta (SLA)
eff 03Jan18: Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Mar del Plata (MDQ)

Additional MAX 8 destinations are planned for mid-2018 including:

eff 02Jun18: Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Rio Gallegos (RGL)
eff 03Jun18: Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - Posadas (PSS)
eff 03Jun18: Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) - San Juan (UAQ)

These dates / destinations are subject to change plus has shown LV-GVD operating flights to Resistencia (RES) that is not on the above lists.

With its increased range over the the 737-800, the 737 MAX 8 is also expected to be deployed on routes from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) and/or Cordoba (COR) non-stop to the Caribbean / Mexico with the most likely candidate destinations being Cancun (CUN) and Punta Cana (PUJ), currently served by Aerolineas A330's, which are apparently too large for demand on these routes.  Aerolineas' existing 737-800 fleet does not have the range to operate these services non-stop.        
Sources:|FGFG|FGABN-2017-1120-GLOB|news&sfid=70120000000taAf via Eric Trum

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