They all want a piece of the action. Norwegian Air is now the latest low-cost airline to express interest in setting up operations in Argentina. The news comes mere days after a new Argentine company, Flybondi, was making headway with plans to become the first budget airline operating in the country. The difference? Flybondi is still trying to secure airplanes while Norwegian has a fleet of 130 aircraft, is currently Europe’s third largest low-cost airline, with about 7000 employees and 400 routes to more than 130 destinations.
Executives from Norwegian arrived in the country on Tuesday, invited by Argentine business magnate and airport operator Eduardo Eurnekian.
So far, executives from the firm have held meetings with Argentina’s ministers for Tourism and Transport, Gustavo Santos and Guillermo Dietrich, to discuss the idea of installing a regional hub in Argentina and, from there, managing operations in Latin America.
The Norwegians are also set to visit Córdoba, currently seen as a favorite choice to set up their operations center. The province’s central geographical location and newly opened Pajas Blancas airport is seen as a good alternative to avoid costly Buenos Aires.
To start with the executives are proposing a flight from Norway to Ezeiza, using a Boeing 787, but that would require some updates regarding international treaties between the two countries.
During meetings with government executives, conversation quickly turned to the local market and the penchant for imposing a minimum price on flights, which partly explains why budget airlines have not yet arrived here. “There will be some flexibility,” assured one of the officials in attendance, according to La Nación. But there were few details about what that could mean.
In 2015, the airline flew nearly 26 million passengers, and perhaps soon it will be flying more across Argentina and the rest of Latin America. Fingers crossed.