Argentinian Low-Cost Carrier Flybondi Records Successful 2019– What’s Next?

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Argentinian low-cost airline Flybondi ended 2019 on a high with an occupancy rate of 90% on its domestic flights. It is poised to fly to new destinations in 2020.

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Flybondi had a 90% occupancy rate for December. Photo: Flybondi

Flybondi has five Boeing 737-800s

Before we get into the airline’s plans for the future, it will help to lay the groundwork if we try and explain how Flybondi came into existence.

Founded by airline industry veteran Julian Cook and former Ryanair and Wizz Air executives Michael Cawley and Michael Powell, Flybondi was designed to be Argentina’s first LCC. The goal of the airline was to take advantage of new regulations that scrapped a government-imposed tariff on air tickets.

Due to the high cost of domestic travel within the eighth-largest country in the world, intercity travel usually meant taking a long-haul bus. What the creators of Flybondi had in mind was to replicate Ryanair in South America by offering no-frills low-cost flights to underserved cities.

With this in mind, the new airline acquired five Boeing 737-800s with 189 seats to operate from its main hub at Ingeniero Aeronáutico Ambrosio L.V. Taravella International Airport (COR) in Cordoba.

Bondi is slang for public bus

While to many of us the name Flybondi might sound as though it should be an airline based in Sydney, Australia, there is a reason behind the unusual name.

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In Argentina, citizens use the slang word “Bondi” when referring to public buses. Seeing how the airline’s main competition would be buses it made perfect sense to call the airline “Flybus.”

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Flybondi has five Boeing 737-800s. Photo: Flybondi

Since beginning operations in January 2018, Flybondi has grown to become Argentina’s third-largest airline behind Aerolíneas Argentinas and LATAM Argentina. As of the end of 2019, Flybondi has flown more than two million passengers and currently controls a market share of nine percent.

Nearly half a million of Flybondi passengers had never flown

Of the Flybondi passengers mentioned above, the airline says that for 480,000 of them, it was the first time they had ever flown.

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Currently, Flybondi serves 20 destinations on its route network and has eliminated the need to change planes in Buenos Aries with direct city-to-city flights that previously did not exist. Without the need to change planes in the Argentinian capital, Flybondi has captured the tourism-oriented passenger who previously only traveled by bus.

In February of 2019, Julian Cook was replaced as CEO by former LATAM Argentina executive Sebastián Pereira, who spoke with Latin American Business Stories about his goal for Flybondi saying:

“We have a long-term commitment to our country, so we are committed to continuing to generate connectivity, opportunity, and accessibility for thousands of people. Air connectivity can be an ally of the provinces, as it drives many activities that contribute to regional economies and job creation.”

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Flybondi has 9% of the Argentinian market. Photo: Mauricio V. Genta Wikimedia Commons

Today Flybondi has 570 employees and is the only low-cost airline that connects Argentina with Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil.

As to the future, Flybondi is looking to expand its service with more destinations in Brazil following the inauguration of its Buenos Aries to Rio de Janeiro route last year.

The new destinations for 2020 will be to connect South America’s two largest cities, Buenos Aries and São Paulo, together with a new service to Porto Alegre in southern Brazil.

If you have ever flown with Flybondi we would love to hear what you thought about the Argentinian LCC in the comments section.

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