Already planning next summer’s vacation? Your airfare options are about to expand, by 135 routes to be exact. The routes were approved yesterday for five low-cost airlines at a public meeting held by Argentina’s Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC). Their combined investments in Argentine flights are expected to bring in 1.7 billion US dollars over the next four years, the Director of Transportation, Guillermo Dietrich estimates.
Some opponents, mainly airline employees from state-run Aerolíneas Argentinas and LAN Airlines (a division of LATAM Airlines Group), protested the meeting. Their concerns? Low-cost airlines will compromise security and endanger current benefits state airline employees receive. Officials have not commented on safety or employee concerns, but safety laws will still apply to the new airlines.
Before routes are finalized, the airlines must prove technical capabilities to government regulators within three months. If they pass, most routes are estimated to start near the end of the year — just in time for 2018’s January getaways.
Here is a sneak peak of the new airlines and routes:
Operated through Avian Líneas Aéreas, Avianca is a Colombian newcomer to the Argentine market and plans to be operational within three months. Connections would link Buenos Aires to cities like Santa Fe, Rosario, Viedma, Puerto Madryn, Comodoro Rivadavia, Concordia, and Sunchales.
Also known as FB Líneas Aéreas, Flybondi has been approved for 78 of their 99 proposed routes. Based out of El Palomar Airport, just outside of Buenos Aires, flights will create more connections to larger Argentina cities, including Córdoba, Iguazú, Mendoza, Viedma, San Luis, Paraná, and Esquel, reports Infobae. Don’t hold your breath for all routes to start right away, though. Flybondi plans on implementing routes over the next 15 years.
3. Alas del Sur
Based out of Córdoba, Alad del Sur plans to add 21 routes, connecting national destinations like Buenos Aires, Rosario, and Viedma. Whether or not the airline will operate out of Jorge Newbery Airport or Ezeiza is up in the air.
Alas del Sur may also make connections internationally, making stops in Sierra, Bolivia; Miami, USA; Barcelona, Spain; Rome, Italy; and Shanghai, China (with a layover in Los Angeles, USA).
4. American Jet
American Jet has been approved for 13 routes carrying passengers, cargo, and mail between Buenos Aires (Jorge Newbery Airport), Córdoba, Neuquén, Rosario, and Resistencia. International flights are planned for Punta del Este, Uruguay; Asunción, Paraguay; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Temuco, Chile.
5. Andes Líneas Aéreas
Seven routes are planned, connecting Buenos Aires, Rosario, Resistencia, Posadas, Puerto Iguazú, San Miguel de Tucumán, Santiago del Estero, and Salta. Andes Líneas Aéreas hopes to approve flights to San Pablo, Brasil and Lima, Peru as well.
Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA is expected to get it’s flights to Argentina approved in the coming months, too.
With an influx of flight options, travel around Argentina and neighboring countries will likely decrease in price, making airfare an attractive option over other transit alternatives.
While cost estimates are not available yet, it looks like travelers might finally get to opt out of expensive domestic flights and lengthy bus trips.