Saturday, June 19, 2021

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas retired last two A340-300's in early 2020, not replaced yet

Aerolineas Argentinas A340-313X, LV-FPV (c/n 193), in Skyteam colors was one of the last two Aerolineas A340's to be retired from the fleet. (Phil Perry Collection)

Aerolineas Argentinas, A340-300, LV-FPV (c/n 193), departed Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) bound for Orlando-Sanford (SFB) on 08Jan20 where it was returned to the aircraft's lessor.  LV-FPV was first delivered to Iberia on 21Oct97 and joined Aerolineas' fleet on 12Oct13 where it was painted in Skyteam colors, marking the carrier's membership in the airline alliance headed by Delta, Air France and KLM.  LV-FPV was scrapped in September 2020.

Aerolineas Argentinas, A340-300, LV-FPU (c/n 170), was returned to its lessor in March 2020, being the last A340 to be retired from the airline and marking the end of four-engined aircraft in service with Aerolineas, some of the other four-engined types preceding it being the DC-4, DC-6, Comet 4, 707 and 747.  

Aerolineas operated thirteen A340-200 and A340-300 aircraft in all with the first eleven being retired between December 2013 and March 2018.  The airline intended to retire LV-FPV and LV-FPU much sooner than it did but postponed withdrawing the aircraft from service because Aerolineas' pilots' union, APLA, wanted a commitment from the Argentine government (owner of Aerolineas) that the two planes would be replaced with other aircraft.  However, the government, headed by then-Argentine President Mauricio Macri, wanted to downsize the carrier's money-losing intercontinental operations.  Unable to come to an agreement with APLA, the government postponed the retirement of Aerolineas' last two A340's in order to head off a labor crisis.

A new government, headed by incoming President Alberto Fernandez, and much more aligned politically with the pilots' union, came into power in December 2019committing to replace LV-FPV and LV-FPU with two A330-200's that would join the numerous other A330-200's already operating with the airline, opening the door for the retirement of Aerolineas' remaining A340's while avoiding labor strife.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic came shortly after LV-FPV and LV-FPU were withdrawn from service, resultlng in a drastic reduction in flying by Aerolineas, especially intercontinental services, so nothing has been done yet to acquire the additional A330's.                           


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