After the Macri administration announced the elimination of a minimum price floor for plane tickets on July 2nd, both low-cost and traditional airlines have announced new fares—some as low as AR $199 for domestic flights. Meanwhile, three new low cost airlines will begin flying in Argentina, including the Chilean Jetsmart, Norwegian, and the Argentine Lasa, which will expand its routes in the Argentine Patagonia.
The response to the new low-cost offers has been massive, with airline sites collapsing only hours after the prices were announced due to unprecedented traffic and purchase attempts. Now, the reported level of sales has come back a month later, showing record numbers for many airline companies.
The company that launched the cheapest tickets was Flybondi, with flights priced at AR $199 to all its destinations. Once these tickets sold out, Flybondi began selling tickets at AR $249, which were also rapidly exhausted, and so on. In total, August marked the month of greatest sales in the history of the company, with 190 thousand tickets sold, 120 thousand of which were priced according to the low-cost model.
Julian Cook, the CEO of Flybondi, assured that it was removing the price floor that had allowed for such record sales.
“The measure allowed us to offer really low cost prices,” Cook stated. “There was a lot of new demand for Corrientes, Posadas and Santiago del Estero, as well as traditional destinations like Bariloche, Iguazú, Mendoza, Salta and Córdoba. The most chosen months to leave were September, October and November.”
Meanwhile, Aerolineas Argentinas launched new tickets with rebates of around 50 percent. The company has also praised the government’s elimination of the price floor, which, according to company spokespeople, “had a very positive impact on ticket demand” and resulted in profits that “far exceeded” previous estimates.
“The first week of sales exceeded by more than 70 percent the numbers that we were seeing in previous months,” they stated, adding that, for destinations such as Bariloche, Iguazú and Ushuaia, “the tickets for the soonest possible flights were sold out in three days.”
“Our position is to maintain these promotional rates for the long-term,” the company emphasized, stating that they already had low-cost tickets available for 2019.
Latam, which also offered similar promotions tickets, already sold a staggering 16 thousand low-cost tickets in August alone.
“We had a 100 percent increase in sales in the first week of August compared to the same week of 2017,” the company stated.