Avianca will begin domestic flights in Argentina on Nov. 21 at 5:30 p.m. The first flights will link Buenos Aires with Rosario twice a day, as well as Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata with the same frequency.
The Colombian company currently has two planes in Argentina and plans to add three more by the year’s end. “Three more planes will arrive in the following weeks, one more in January, another in Februrary and March, two Airbus A320 for routes to Brazil,” said Hugo Díaz, a commercial manager of the airline. The company will finish the first trimester of 2018 with seven planes completing domestic flights in Argentina.
Infobae reported in October that Avianca began an aggressive marketing campaign to jump start its entry into the Argentine market. From Oct. 24, they planned to sell 3,000 tickets at a “minimum price” on their website. “Our e-commerce platform is online!! ROSARIO and MAR DEL PLATA by plane!! What are you waiting for?” the airline wrote on Twitter in October.
— Avianca Argentina (@Avianca_Ar) October 2, 2017
Although Avianca’s entry into the Argentine market will certainly bring competition and may lower prices, associates from the company said that it is not a “low cost” airline. Majority shareholder Germán Efromovich told Infobae that passengers “will not fly in a fetal position” and will receive a snack and beverage on board.
Passengers will also be allowed one carry on and a checked bag of up to 15 kilograms (33 pounds). “Argentina is an expensive market. One has to make changes to compete,” Efromovich said.
Desde Aeroparque, primer vuelo regular de Avianca Argentina! https://t.co/cplknNb0ao
— Aviacionline.com (@aviacionline) November 21, 2017
The majority shareholder stated that the airline would not criticize the government’s taxes for domestic flights, but noted such taxes increased the cost of business. Efromovich explained that the company hopes the government will open itself to more international competition “sooner rather than later.” Efromovich’s business activities recently appeared in the Paradise Papers, a leak of 13.4 million files from offshore service providers and company registries of tax havens. Despite this revelation, the Ministry of Transportation told La Nación that Avainca complied with all legal requirements to begin domestic flights in Argentina.
Avianca’s entry into the Argentine domestic flight market comes as Transportation Minister Guillermo Dietrich announced on Nov. 20 that the government plans to construct an airport in El Palomar, a city on the outskirts of CABA in the Province of Buenos Aires, for low cost airlines that fly domestically.
The proposed capacity expansion is in anticipation of increased traffic: between January and September of 2017, a record 20.4 million passengers have traveled through Argentine airports. That figure surpassed 2016’s by 2.7 million passengers.
Dietrich explained that the government intends to reverse the “mistaken vision” of the past that curtailed investment. “They are creating investments [in infrastructure] like never before. In this context, the airline industry is strategic. We are going to double the quantity of passengers in domestic flights by 2020,” Dietrich said.