In April, the Argentinian government proposed to ban all commercial domestic and international flights through to September 1st as a result of the global health crisis. However, to the frustration of many, the country’s Minister of Transport, Mario Meoni, has now shut down the possibility of even domestic flights resuming on this date.
According to Clarín, the politician said that until his team has guidelines from the Ministry of Health and each of the governors of Argentina’s provinces to regain connectivity, the outlook will be restrictive. Nonetheless, he did not rule out that the start date could be within two months. Even though he mostly addresses domestic activity, it can be expected that this view also applies to international operations.
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Efforts in vain
In March, Argentina and most of its South American neighbors, suspended the majority of international flights and effectively closed their borders. These moves were made in a bid to stop COVID-19 from spreading. However, six months later, the continent has emerged as one of the worst-hit regions in the world.
Despite the proactive approach from Argentina, the virus still took its toll on the country. With South America remaining an epicenter of the virus, flight suspensions may have proved to be largely ineffective. Even if they did somewhat help, significant damage has already been done.
Since global travel restrictions were brought in, many countries are now managing to find a balance when it comes to air travel. At least families, residents, and professionals from some places can find ways to hop across several nations. Yet, this is not the case across South America.
One of the only countries in South America to already drop its suspensions is Brazil. However, the country seems to have gone in the opposite direction and it does not require many measures to enter the nation. Meanwhile, Ecuador, which was initially severely suffering from the virus, now has a balance of services while maintaining efficient safety measures. Meanwhile, the rest of the continent mostly remains grounded.
Something needs to change
There has been a lack of communication about aviation plans across several Latin American countries. A clear discussion between airlines and authorities to implement proactive safety measures could go a long way.
Undoubtedly, there are thousands of people longing to travel for personal, medical, and financial reasons. These passengers would be willing to take any necessary tests and undergo any required quarantines in order to catch a flight. For instance, CBC reports that a Canadian woman hasn’t seen her husband since February as he is stuck in Bolivia amid its border closures.
Along with the social damage, the decision to postpone international travel is another blow for airlines operating in Argentina. Several South American airlines have already filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. So, the next few months will be crucial for their future.
Understandably, Argentina is focusing on other areas right now. However, there could be severe long-term damage if there isn’t a clear direction when it comes to flights.
Along with the thousands of potential job losses in the aviation industry, many people are relying on air travel for other professions. Altogether, there needs to be some sort of balance, even if there are minimal commercial services with additional safety measures. While Argentina remains shut down, Colombia’s domestic revival will hopefully spark activity in the continent.
Simple Flying reached out to Aerolíneas Argentinas, the country’s flag carrier, for comment on its flight schedule. We will update the article with any further announcements.
What are your thoughts about Argentina not resuming commercial flights on September 1st? Were you looking to fly in or out of the country soon? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.