Seven airlines in Latin America and the Caribbean have cut more than 90% of their capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is very likely that more will follow in the coming weeks. In just a week Latin America had a 42% drop in capacity.
Currently, the seven airlines which are most affected are Avior Airlines, Cayman Airways, Copa Airlines, TAME Ecuador, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Avianca, and Winair. Let’s investigate further.
America’s hub is closed
Copa Airlines grounded all of its fleet on Monday, at midnight. The Panamanian carrier will remain on the ground until 21 April. This means a total of 106 aircraft will not fly for a month. This includes the Boeing 737 MAX fleet that Copa grounded since March last year.
The airline said,
“We deeply regret the inconveniences generated due to the travel restrictions imposed in some Latin American countries (…). Due to the uncertainty of the situation, we have received a high number of restrictions with little to none time to react, which has limited our operations.”
Also, last week Panama announced the closure of all of its airports. This will be effective from 23 March at 23:59 and for the next 30 days. Tocumen International Airport, also known as America’s Hub, is the main airport in the country. It also works as a very important transit point for travelers in Latin America. In 2019, Tocumen received 16.5 million passengers. How it will be affected in 2020?
Aerolíneas Argentinas’ skeleton operation
Over the weekend, Argentina published a decree declaring mandatory isolation until 31 March. The borders in the country are also closed.
Still, foreign travelers in transit are allowed entry into Argentina but must not present symptoms and must have an outbound ticket. Also, the government retains the potential of operating repatriation flights.
This is why currently Aerolíneas Argentinas has canceled 99% of its commercial operation. It only has a skeleton operation. On Twitter, the airline claims to have operated 38 special flights bringing back home over 10,000 Argentinians.
— Aerolíneas Argentinas (@Aerolineas_AR) March 23, 2020
Avianca’s deep troubles
As we reported last week, Avianca’s fleet came down from 142 aircraft to just ten. The South American airline stopped all international flights and reduced 84% of its domestic capacity.
Avianca took hits from all South American governments. The carrier has hubs in Colombia, El Salvador, and Peru. The three governments shut down its borders. Also, El Salvador and Peru imposed a mandatory quarantine on its people, while Colombia remains slightly open.
This is why Avianca still has 10 aircraft flying. These planes are five Airbus A320 and five ATR turboprops.
What about the other airlines?
Cayman Airways is closing all its operations until 12 April. Avior Airlines, in Venezuela, will not fly again until 17 April. TAME Ecuador has not yet announced when it will go back into the air. Winair, the State airline in St. Maarteen had its final flight on 22 MAarch between St. Maarten and Curazao. Hasn’t announced a return date.
Also, today Chilean airline Sky Airlines announced that it will stop flying from 25 March to 30 April. GOL in Brazil announced a cut of 70% of its demands until mid-June, LATAM also cut 70% of its operations (including 90% of its international flights). Azul Linhas Aereas has a 50% cut. Aeromexico and Interjet slashed 40% of its operations.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.