Friday, October 13, 2017

NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Flybondi to start operating first route Cordoba (COR) - Iguazu (IGR) eff 15Nov17


Flybondi CEO Julian Cook announced on 25Sep17 that the new Argentine Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) will start service flying from Cordoba (COR) to Iguazu Falls (IGR) 2x/weekly on 15Nov17 using the sole 737-800 that it expects to take delivery of on 01Nov17.      

Mendoza (MDZ) to Iguazu Falls (IGR), possibly via Cordoba (COR), is expected to start at approximately the same time.  

Although Flybondi announced that its main operational base would be at El Palomar (EPA) airport (which is also an Argentine Air Force base) just to the west of the city of Buenos Aires, the airline has also signed agreements with the provinces of Cordoba, Corrientes and Misiones (details not revealed) to provide air service from the main cities of these regions to Buenos Aires.   

Flights out of the city of Corrientes (CNQ) to El Palomar (EPA) are planned to start in January 2018 7x/weekly with long-range plans for the carrier to fly the route 17x/weekly by 2021.        

Service from the Misiones city of Posadas (PSS) to El Palomar (EPA) is scheduled for January 2018 on a 1x/daily basis.

The above routes would depend on El Palomar (EPA) being authorized and ready for airline operations by January, which would seem optimistic.  The flights would presumably be routed to Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) as an alternative until El Palomar (EPA) is ready.

Sources:

https://aerospotter.blogspot.com.ar/2017/09/flybondi-paso-por-misiones.html
http://www.sirchandler.com.ar/2017/09/flybondi-despegaria-mitad-noviembre-desde-cordoba/
http://www.aviacionline.com/2017/09/ultimas-novedades-de-flybondi-desde-corrientes-y-misiones/

Friday, October 6, 2017

FLEET UPDATE: Fuerza Aerea Argentina 737-500 T-04 returns to VIP service

Republica Argentina 737-5H6, T-04, (c/n 26456/2527) lands at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 15Aug14.  (Phil Perry Photo) 

Fuerza Aerea Argentina 737-5H6, T-04 (c/n 26456/2527), has returned to service flying for the Agrupacion Aerea Presidencial (presidential transport group) after a couple of years grounded at El Palomar Air Base near Buenos Aires undergoing heavy maintenance, including both engines being changed.  

The aircraft was originally delivered to Malaysian Airlines System in 1993 continuing on to fly for Air France in 1999 before joining Aerolineas Argentinas as LV-AYE in 2004 and then the Argentine Air Force in April 2014, after spending two years in storage following its withdrawal from service by the national carrier in 2012.  

T-04 was intended to replace the country's primary presidential transport 757 T-01 that had been due for very expensive maintenance leading to its grounding.  However, T-04 soon needed maintenance work too, which was recently completed at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) followed by several test flights and the aircraft resuming its governmental VIP transport role on 29Sep17 when it flew Argentine President Mauricio Macri and other government officials from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) to San Luis (LUQ) and Mendoza (MDZ).   

Sources:

https://aerospotter.blogspot.com.ar/2017/09/un-dia-volvio-el-t-04.html
http://loudandclearisnotenought.blogspot.com.ar/search?q=t-04

Saturday, September 30, 2017

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas' long-range fleet plans A340, A330, 737 MAX 8

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

Aerolineas Argentinas officially has six A340-300's remaining in its fleet but two are reportedly parked in the desert in the United States with two more to be retired in the coming months and two more with recently renovated interiors expected to stay in service with the Argentine national airline for another year.  

Referring to airfleets.net, A340-313X, LV-CSD (c/n 123) and A340-313X, LV-CSF (c/n 128) both ex-Singapore and Cathay Pacific examples, are apparently the aircraft that will be retired in December 2017 and March 2018.

The two A340-300's on lease from Iberia, A340-313X, LV-FPU (c/n 170) and A340-313X, LV-FPV (c/n 193), the latter painted in Skyteam colors, have had their interiors remodeled and will stay in service until December 2018, reportedly flying mostly from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Cancun (CUN), Barcelona (BCN) and Madrid (MAD).  

The carrier's A330's will cover Aerolineas' other intercontinental routes to Miami (MIA), New York-Kennedy (JFK) and Rome-Fiumicino (FCO).  Once the A340's are gone, the A330's will operate all of Aerolineas' intercontinental routes plus many routes in the Americas that are beyond the range of the carrier's 737-800 fleet, at least until Aerolineas starts taking delivery of the longer-range 737 MAX 8, which will be deployed on routes such as Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to Bogota (BOG) and Punta Cana (PUJ).    

Sunday, September 24, 2017

ROUTE UPDATES: LATAM Chile, LATAM Brasil, Air Europa


Santiago (SCL) - Punta del Este (PDP) - eff 04Jan18 - 25Feb18 - Seasonal Summer Service

LATAM Chile will operate between Santiago (SCL) and this Uruguayan beach resort 2x/weekly with A320 aircraft in competition with the Chilean LCC, Sky Airline.

Montevideo (MVD) - Florianopolis (FLN) - eff 06Jan18 - 25Feb18 - Seasonal Summer Service

LATAM Brasil will operate between Montevideo (MVD) and this Brazilian beach resort 1x/weekly with A320 aircraft.


Cordoba (COR) - Asuncion (ASU) - eff 03Mar18 - Equipment Change to 787-8

Air Europa is due to replace its current A330-200 service on this route with the 787-8 on 03Mar18, initially only until 24Mar18 but indications are that the change will be permanent.   

Sources:

http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/274518/latam-chile-adds-seasonal-punta-del-este-service-in-1q18/ via Eric Trum
http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/274519/latam-brasil-adds-florianopolis-montevideo-in-1q18/ via Eric Trum
http://aeropuertocordoba.blogspot.com.ar/2017/09/air-europa-volara-en-dreamliner-cordoba.html

Friday, September 22, 2017

NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Flybondi planning to receive first 737-800 on November 1



Flybondi 737-800 in initially proposed scheme (upper image) and modified scheme (lower image) with the only apparent difference being the yellow band sweeping down the tail reaching the lower fuselage.  

Flybondi recently announced that it expects to take delivery of its first aircraft, a 737-800 from Singapore, which should arrive in Argentina on 01Nov17. 

The airline has not made any specific route start-up announcements but reportedly has pilots undergoing simulator training in Sao Paulo and flight attendants hired for its planned Cordoba base.   

Flybondi says that it is negotiating leases for 10 737-800's to be delivered by the end of 2018 with 6 more aircraft to be added each year for a total of 30 in service by 2021.

Source:

http://www.sirchandler.com.ar/2017/09/flybondi-promete-primer-avion-1o-noviembre/
http://www.siscoma.com.ar/online/aviacion/2017/avn170921/avn-170921.html

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

ROUTE UPDATES: Copa, Sky, Azul, Cubana


Cordoba (COR) - Panama City (PTY) - eff 02Dec17 - Adding Second Daily Flight

Copa will add a second daily 737-800 flight from Cordoba (COR) to its hub in Panama City (PTY), joining the many other international flights starting up from Argentina's second-largest city. 

With this flight, Copa will operate 46 weekly frequencies from Argentina to Panama City (PTY) composed of 7x/weekly from Rosario (ROS), 14/weekly from Cordoba (COR), 21/weekly from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) (increasing from 17x/weekly soon), and 4x/weekly from Mendoza (MDZ), which is a new service to be added on 16Nov17.         

Santiago (SCL) - Punta del Este (PDP) - eff 13Dec17-11Mar18

Sky Airline will switch two of its existing five weekly flights between Santiago (SCL) and Montevideo (MVD) to the Uruguayan summer resort of Punta del Este (PDP) for three months during the southern hemisphere summer season to be operated with A319 aircraft.      

Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Belo Horizonte (CNF) - eff 15Dec17 - One of two daily frequencies to be operated with A320neo

Azul operates two daily flights on this route with 118-seat E195's but one of them will be upgraded to the 174-seat A320neo, signaling high demand and success on the route, which it started flying in March of this year.   


Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - Havana (HAV) - eff 19Dec17 - Adding second weekly frequency

Cubana will add a second-weekly Ilyushin Il-96-300 flight between Ezeiza (EZE) and Havana (HAV), stopping in Santa Clara, Cuba (SNU).  The existing 1x/weekly flight stops in Cayo Coco, Cuba (CCC) prior to arriving in Havana (HAV).    

Sources:

http://www.aviacionline.com/2017/08/copa-airlines-suma-un-segundo-vuelo-diario-entre-cordoba-y-panama/
http://www.portaldeamerica.com/index.php/primera-plana/item/24865-cambios-en-vuelos-y-frecuencias-de-sky
http://www.aviacionline.com/2017/09/azul-aumenta-la-capacidad-en-su-ruta-a-buenos-aires-al-incorporar-el-a320neo/
http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/274569/cubana-boosts-argentina-service-from-dec-2017/  via Eric Trum

Monday, September 18, 2017

NEW AIRLINE PLANS & FLEET UPDATE: Azul Uruguay to take delivery of two ATR-72-600's as it prepares for the start of service


Start-up airline Azul Uruguay expects to take delivery of two new ATR-72-600's in the next month or two, CX-URA (c/n 1342) and CX-URY (c/n 1367), both apparently on lease from Nordic Aviation Capital.  A third ATR-72-600, CX-URB (c/n 1360), is reportedly undergoing flight tests at the ATR facility in Toulouse, France.         

The Uruguayan division of parent airline Azul of Brazil is going through the process of getting the aircraft certified for airline service by the Uruguayan aviation authorities and contracting personnel for the start of operations. Possible routes include Montevideo (MVD) to Cordoba (COR), Porto Alegre (POA), Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU), and the coveted "Air Bridge" to Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP).     

Sources:

Sunday, September 17, 2017

ROUTE UPDATES: Amaszonas, United, Avianca


Cordoba (COR) - Santa Cruz (VVI) - eff 14Sep17 - POSTPONED

The Amaszonas group of airlines recently started flying from Cordoba (COR) to Montevideo (MVD) and was scheduled to also start CRJ-200 service from the central Argentine city to Santa Cruz (VVI) on a 3x/weekly basis on 14Sep17 but this route has been postponed until at least December. 
.  

Newark (EWR) - Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) - eff 29Oct17 - UPGAUGING TO 767-400 

United announced in June that it would restart this route, which it dropped in September 2013, with 767-300's 1x/daily eff 29Oct17 but recently indicated that it would upgrade the equipment to 767-400's.  

This change appears targeted at the business travel market because the 767-400 has more premium-class seats with 39 vs. 30 in business and 70 vs. 29 premium economy compared to the 767-300.  Both aircraft types have virtually the same number of economy-class seats with 133 for the 767-400 vs. 135 for the 767-300.   

Cordoba (COR) - Lima (LIM) - eff 17Nov17

This airline will start service from Cordoba (COR) to its Lima (LIM) hub 1x/daily using A320's in November competing head-to-head with LATAM from the same city to the Peruvian capital's airport, where LATAM also has a hub.

Sources:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas receives two more 737-800's


Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of its 30th and 31st 737-800 series aircraft when 737-887 LV-GVB (c/n 60500/6549) and 737-887 LV-GVC (c/n 60501/6568) departed the US on 29Aug17 and 11Sep17, respectively, both arriving in Argentina one day later.  Both aircraft routed from Boeing Field (BFI) near Seattle to Punta Cana (PUJ) and Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE).

These are the last 737-800's that Aerolineas will take delivery of with the next 737 deliveries to be the carrier's first MAX 8 models, to be registered LV-GVD (c/n 64207/line number ?) and LV-GVE (c/n 64208/line number ?) for delivery in November and December 2017, respectively.   

Sources:

http://linea-ala.blogspot.com.ar/2017/08/otro-mas-llego.html
http://linea-ala.blogspot.com.ar/2017/09/otro-jet-esta-llegando.html
http://linea-ala.blogspot.com.ar/2017/08/aerolineas-argentinas-ultimas-novedades.html

Monday, September 11, 2017

FLEET UPDATE: More details on possible replacement of Austral E190 fleet

Austral E190, LV-CMB (c/n 448), turns off Buenos Aires Aeroparque's runway 31 after landing at the airport on 17Mar16. (Phil Perry Photo)  

Following up on two posts in late August regarding Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral's plans to possibly replace Austral's 26-strong Embraer 190 fleet, it is now being reported that the airline is looking to sell 20 of the 24 company-owned E190's while keeping the remaining four owned aircraft plus the two leased planes for "thinner" less-traveled routes to smaller cities.  The airline would acquire 20 new aircraft to replace the 20 departing E190's on a like-for-like basis with no net fleet reduction for its shorter-range routes.  

However, keeping only six E190's might be an expensive proposition that would more than offset the operational savings from flying an aircraft that is correctly-sized for the routes that it would fly.  It might be better to dispose of the entire E190 fleet and acquire more of the larger-than-necessary 737-800's, 737 MAX 8's (or whichever aircraft is chosen to replace the 20 E190's) to also serve the "thinner" routes, thereby gaining the economic efficiencies of operating a single type on short-range routes.                  

According to the May 2016 issue of Airways magazine, Oman Air came to this same conclusion when it kept four of its E190's for less-traveled routes but found that the overhead costs of training crews and maintaining a spares supply for such a small fleet were prohibitive even though the aircraft was ideal for many of its destinations.  The planes were put up for sale in June 2016.    
The aircraft types reportedly being considered to replace the E190's are the Embraer E195-E2 (new generation of this series that can carry up to 140 passengers in single-class configuration), the Airbus A320neo and the 737 MAX series, which Aerolineas Argentinas will already start taking delivery of later this year. 

Expanding upon the reasons already given in previous posts for replacing the E190's with larger jets, Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral's passenger numbers are higher than ever with load factors on the increase plus many Argentine airports have limited infrastructure (such as ramp space) limiting their ability to take on more aircraft but they can accommodate larger aircraft.   

The decision on the future of Austral's E190 fleet will likely be made in the coming months.  

Two previous posts on this subject in late August contain further background and details:

"Aerolineas Argentinas to reduce or dispose of Austral's E190 fleet ? - Part 1 - Rationales"

"Aerolineas Argentinas to reduce or dispose of Austral's E190 fleet ? - Part 2 - Bad Idea ?"

Sources:

http://www.sirchandler.com.ar/2017/08/va-pasar-los-embraer-190-austral/comment-page-1/#comments
Airways magazine, May 2016 issue

Friday, September 8, 2017

FLEET UPDATE: Aerolineas Argentinas retires two 737-700's LV-CYJ + LV-CYN

Aerolineas Argentinas 737-7Q8, LV-CYJ (c/n 30647/1159), taxis in at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 10Dec15. (Phil Perry Photo) 


Aerolineas Argentinas 737-7Q8, LV-CYN (c/n 30648/1171), taxis out at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 21Jun16. (Phil Perry Photo)

Aerolineas Argentinas recently retired two 737-700's from its fleet; 737-7Q8, LV-CYJ (c/n 30647/1159) which departed Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on 15Aug17 to Paine Field (PAE) in Everett, Washington via intermediate stops in Punta Cana (PUJ) and Miami (MIA) and 737-7Q8, LV-CYN (c/n 30648/1171), which left Ezeiza on 02Sep17 also to Paine Field via PUJ and MIA.

LV-CYJ has already joined the fleet of Southwest Airlines (as has every other ex-Aerolineas 737-700) as N7865A and LV-CYN is also scheduled to join Southwest in the near future.  This leaves Aerolineas with a fleet of nine 737-700's after peaking at 22 of the type in recent years. 

Sources:

http://linea-ala.blogspot.com.ar/2017/08/mas-novedades-en-aerolineas.html
https://www.planespotters.net/airframe/Boeing/737/N7865A-Southwest-Airlines/k6E8TBPq
https://aerospotter.blogspot.com.ar/2017/07/roll-out-n-334-fleet-list.html
http://linea-ala.blogspot.com.ar/2017/09/aerolineas-devolvio-otro-avion.html

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Norwegian Air Argentina to request 155 routes at 06Sep17 Route Hearings


Norwegian Air Argentina plans to request authority to operate 155 routes at the 06Sep17 route hearings.  Everyone is paying close attention to the plans of this new affiliate of the European low-cost carrier (LCC) Norwegian Air Shuttle, which also has three other subsidiaries; Norwegian Air International, Norwegian Air UK and Norwegian Long Haul.  It is widely regarded as the most likely to succeed of the proposed new airlines under the Argentine government's "Commercial Airline Revolution" plan to double the number of people traveling by air in Argentina by 2019.  

The airline will request 75 domestic routes with 34 from Buenos Aires (airport not indicated), 17 from Cordoba (COR), 6 from Mendoza (MDZ), 3 from Rosario (ROS), and 5 from Salta (SLA) with 10 other routes connecting internal Argentine points.  

Norwegian will also request 80 international routes with 63 from Buenos Aires (airport not indicated), 13 from Cordoba (COR), 3 from Mendoza (MDZ) and 1 from Rosario (ROS).   

Proposed aircraft for its fleet include the 737 MAX 8, A321neoLR, and 787-8/9.

Domestic Route Applications

* Buenos Aires (airport not indicated) - Domestic

The 34 domestic routes to be requested from BA all overlap with Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral existing service with the only destinations covered by the national airline that Norwegian will not request being Rio Hondo (RHD) and Rosario (ROS).  On the other hand, Norwegian will ask for Puerto Madryn (PMY) from BA which AR /AU do not fly to.     

Surprisingly, Norwegian has even included some small airports in its request, such as Formosa (FMA), Rio Cuarto (RCU), Santa Rosa (RSA) and Viedma (VDM).   

Cordoba (COR) - Domestic

Norwegian plans to operate a hub from Cordoba (COR) with 17 destinations overlapping with all 12 of Aerolineas / Austral's routes from this airport plus 5 new ones; Mar del Plata (MDQ), Posadas (PSS), San Juan (UAQ), San Luis (LUQ) and Santa Fe (SFN).     

* Mendoza (MDZ) - Domestic 

Six mostly higher-volume destinations are in the works for Norwegian from Mendoza (MDZ) - Cordoba (COR), Jujuy (JUJ), Neuquen (NQN), Rosario (ROS), Salta (SLA) and Tucuman (TUC).  

* Rosario (ROS) - Domestic 

Three popular vacation destinations will be requested from Rosario (ROS) - El Calafate (FTE), Iguazu Falls (IGR) and San Rafael (AFA).

* Salta (SLA) - Domestic   

Five destinations that would probably be a mix of higher and lower-volume traffic from this northern Argentine airport are being sought; higher - Comodoro Rivadavia (CRD), Iguazu Falls (IGR) and Rosario (ROS) plus lower - San Juan (UAQ) and Tucuman (TUC).

International Route Applications

Buenos Aires (airport not indicated, presumably Ezeiza (EZE) - International

The surprisingly large number of 63 international routes is being requested from Buenos Aires. Even though Norwegian would probably only serve a portion of those approved, even 15-20 international routes would be a lot for just one new carrier from Buenos Aires . 

41 of these will be in the Americas - the Caribbean, South America and the United States with 13 currently having no service from Argentina, including Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Los Angeles (LAX), Orlando (MCO), and San Francisco (SFO) in the US.  Another proposed US destination, Honolulu (HNL) would be an intriguing possibility for non-stop service from Buenos Aires with some exciting vacation packages likely.  The editor of this blog could see Hawaii becoming a fashionable destination for the Argentine travel market. 

15 international destinations would be in Europe with only six currently served by other carriers from Argentina - Barcelona (BCN), Istanbul (IST), London-Heathrow (LHR), Madrid (MAD), Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), and Rome-Fiumicino (FCO).  The other 9 would be new - Copenhagen (CPH), Kiev (KBP), Malaga (AGP), Milan-Malpensa (MXP), Moscow-Sheremetyevo (SVO), Oslo (OSL), Prague (PRG), Stockholm-Arlanda (ARN) and Zurich (ZRH).

Some exotic destinations include Cape Town (CPT) and Johannesburg (JNB) in South Africa plus Perth (PER) and Sydney (SYD) in Australia and even Tel Aviv (TLV) and Papeete (PPT).     
     
Cordoba (COR) - International

A surprisingly large number of routes is also being requested from Cordoba (COR) with 13 international destinations being a lot for a market this size.

Several South American points plus a few in the Caribbean and Mexico would be requested along with Barcelona (BCN) and Madrid (MAD) in Spain and Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) in the US. 

Mendoza (MDZ) - International

3 routes are being sought from MDZ to Miami (MIA), Santiago (SCL), and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU). 

Rosario (ROS) - International

The only international route being applied for from this city is Ft. Lauderdale (FLL). 

A special thank you goes out to the excellent Argentine commercial aviation blog aviacionline.com for much of the above analysis. 

Conclusions: 

* Norwegian Air Argentina is requesting service mostly from the largest Argentina cities - Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza, and Rosario - which is to be expected as the airline will need a fairly high volume of passenger traffic to achieve the economies of scale necessary to implement its low fare marketing strategy. 

* The airline plans to go head-to-head with Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral in many domestic Argentine markets, which is surprising because of the union opposition that it is likely to generate. While Norwegian thinks of low fares as mostly stimulating new traffic that would otherwise not travel, the general perception will likely be that they are "stealing" passengers from the existing Argentine carriers and the long-distance bus companies.  While the latter is probably somewhat true, Low-Cost Carriers in Europe and the US have mostly generated new traffic rather than taken passengers from legacy airlines.    

* Norwegian Air Argentina is seeking a surprisingly large international presence with 80 routes being requested.  If just half of the requests are approved and initiated, the airline would probably offer more international service from Argentina than any other carrier.    

Sources:

http://www.aviacionline.com/2017/08/aeroaudiencia2017-norwegian-air-argentina-la-estrella-nordica-que-quiere-ser-austral/
https://www.boletinoficial.gob.ar/#!DetalleNorma/169233/20170816
http://www.sirchandler.com.ar/2017/08/confirmada-la-audiciencia-publica-6-septiembre-muchas-rutas-pedidas/comment-page-2/#comments
http://www.aviacionline.com/2017/08/ya-tiene-fecha-la-aeroaudiencia2017-y-se-viene-con-cada-cosa/