Sunday, May 16, 2021

ROUTE UPDATES: April 2021 - Part 5 - Argentina - United States - Nonstop Flights Status

Regularly-scheduled airline flights in Argentina resumed in late October 2020 after a seven-month hiatus during which only "special" flights were approved, mostly for the purpose of repatriation of individuals that were stranded away from their home cities and/or countries when regular flights were suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

In January 2021, the number of COVID cases surged in various parts of the world resulting in the Argentine Government's ANAC national aviation authority issuing an order on 26Jan21 requiring airlines to reduce the number of flights from Argentina to Europe, Mexico and the United States by 30% and to Brazil by 50%, effective 01Feb21.

Further cuts in service were mandated by the ANAC in late March with the goal of limiting international flights arriving at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to one flight every two hours with no more than 2,000 passengers arriving from foreign countries each day. 

The above changes taken together have resulted in a frequently-changing international air transportation scene in Argentina.  As an example, nonstop flights between Argentina and the United States by Aerolineas Argentinas, American Airlines, Delta and United have evolved in recent months as noted below:      

* Aerolineas Argentinas 

The Argentine national airline reportedly restarted service from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Miami (MIA) in late October 2020 with 3x/weekly flights, increasing frequency on the route to 5x/weekly by early December.  

Frequency was increased again in early 2021 to 6x/weekly with a further increase to 9x/weekly flights planned to start on 03Jun21 in response to the strong demand for travel to Miami (MIA) for the purpose of being vaccinated against COVID-19 (limited vaccine availability in Argentina).   

* American Airlines

Profile of Pre-COVID Service
 
American's service from Argentina to the United States reached an all-time high in late 2019 with 35x/weekly flights, as follows:

* Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Miami (MIA) - 21x/weekly flights (including 7x/weekly for the southern hemisphere summer season) using 777-200 / 777-300

Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) - 7x/weekly flights using 777-200

Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - New York Kennedy (JFK) - 7x/weekly flights using  777-200

Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Los Angeles (LAX) - 3x/weekly flights using 787-9

* Cordoba (COR - Miami (MIA) - 4x/weekly flights using 767-300

COVID-era Service Suspensions & Reinstatements:

Cordoba (COR)

Cancellation of the Cordoba (COR) service due to a lack of profitability was announced in early December 2019 to take effect in May 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic saw the last COR-MIA flight take place on 16Mar20.  

Los Angeles (LAX)

The Los Angeles (LAX) service was a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic but it was rumored among aviation observers that the flight was not profitable so it might not have lasted much longer anyway.

Service to the three other destinations from EZE - DFW, JFK and MIA - was halted in mid-March 2020 when all domestic and international flights operating in Argentina were suspended by the government-imposed quarantine to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miami (MIA)

American resumed regularly-scheduled service from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Miami (MIA) in October 2020 with 7x/weekly flights using 777-200's but the equipment used on this route has changed several times since then.  

The airline upgauged to 777-300's on the route, effective 12Feb21, but with the Argentine  government wanting to reduce the number of international travelers, the MIA flight reverted to 777-200 operations in April with a few flights still operated by 777-300's due to the high demand for vaccination travel to Miami (MIA).  Because of the unceasing demand for travel to Miami, the airline is scheduled to once again regularly operate 777-300's on the EZE-MIA route, effective 04Jun21, 7x/weekly.              

Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW)

American restarted regularly-scheduled flights on the Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) route on 02Dec20 using 787-8's, 7x/weekly, upgrading to the 787-9 on 04Jan21.  Due to the increasing restrictions on the number of international travelers allowed to travel to/from Argentina, these flights were cut back to 3x/weekly, effective 01Feb21.  Further cuts to 2x/weekly flights in the first half of April and just 1x/weekly flight in the second half of the same month were made but with an upgauge to the larger 777-200 on the route.  

New York Kennedy (JFK)

American has apparently been selling seats on flights from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to New York Kennedy (JFK) in the hope that the flights would eventually receive approval but this has not happened with the result that passengers have been accommodated where possible on the flights to DFW and MIA, connecting on to New York.    

* Delta Air Lines 

Delta restarted regularly-scheduled flights from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Atlanta (ATL) on 19Dec20, 3x/weekly, using 767-400s.  The airline changed equipment to the A330-300 on 05Jan21, still maintaining 3x/weekly flights until 02Feb21 when the frequency was reduced to 2x/weekly flights.  

Further changes occurred on 04Mar21 when Delta changed the aircraft type to the 767-300 and again in early May to the A330-200, the fourth different type or subtype since service resumed in December 2020.  Frequency dropped to 1x/weekly for a period in April and was then increased back to 2x/weekly in May.  

* United Airlines

United restarted regularly-scheduled flights from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH) on 10Oct20, 1x/weekly, using 787-9's but quickly increased this to 3x/weekly, reportedly on 17Oct20. 

The airline continued to fly with the same frequency and equipment but, effective 01Feb21, only two of the 3x/weekly southbound flights (from IAH to EZE) were approved for passenger travel due to the limits on international arrivals outlined by the Argentine government.  The one other southbound flight carried only cargo.  All 3x/weekly northbound flights (EZE to IAH) carried passengers.      

The latest development for May is that the carrier is flying 2x/weekly on the route without the third flight that was pax/cargo northbound and only cargo southbound.      

Sources:

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