Argentina is a country which is currently struggling financially. Recently the country has seen its currency revalued, in addition to strong inflation. However, due to recently enacted policies from the president of Argentina, the aviation market appears to be booming. A number of other factors such as cheaper tickets and new airlines have all contributed to this. In fact, in just under a fortnight, Norwegian is set to launch domestic flights in the country. This will see competition opened up with existing Argentina low-cost carrier Flybondi which launched operations in January.
Argentina has had Norwegian flights for almost 8 months now. On February the 14th, the UK subsidiary of the airline began operating flights to the nation’s capital Buenos Aires. The flights from London Gatwick will soon be paired up with a network of domestic flights allowing easy connections around the country. Based out of the city’s domestic airport, the fleet will comprise of B737-800 aircraft.
Speaking about the launch of operations, Bjørn Kjos, Norwegian CEO, said: “The imminent start of our operations in Argentina confirms our long-term commitment to the region and represents a milestone in Norwegian’s history. Our new flights will help to improve connectivity, will boost local tourism and increase investment across the country generating a positive impact to local communities. Customers arriving on our long-haul service to Buenos Aires can now additionally travel across Argentina with confidence and ease thanks to our new domestic routes.”
FlyBondi is another player in the Argentina low-cost travel market. The airline launched in January and has seen some impressive figures in the past 9 months. Since January 26th, when the first flight occurred, the airline has carried over half a million passengers. Of these, 80,000 had never flown before. The airline follows the typical low-cost model of charging extra for anything other than a place on the flight. This is similar to the pricing model found in many other low-cost airlines such as Swoop, Ryanair, and Pobeda.
FlyBondi currently flies to 13 cities utilising a fleet of 5 B737-800 aircraft, however, it has ambitious plans to increase its fleet size to 21 in the next 3 years. This is however dwarfed by the expansion plans of Norwegian who expect to be operating a fleet of 50-70 aircraft in the region within the next 5-8 years.
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The mass expansion in the Argentina low-cost travel is due to a change in aviation regulations in the county. Previously there was a minimum fare in place for all flights taking place in the country. As such, many companies were quick to celebrate. FlyBondi was offering introductory fares starting at around $5, while LATAM was offering fares from $19.
The next few years are certain to be exciting for the Argentinian aviation industry. Do you think the airlines’ expansion plans are too ambitious? Let us know below!