[ News ]October 9, 2020 4:33 am ET
By Jose Antonio Payet
Argentina’s Government Says Flights Will Come Back To Buenos Aires’ Low-Cost Airport
After months of uncertainty regarding the future of the country’s only low-cost airport; Argentina’s aviation industry has had a ray of hope as the country’s transport minister confirmed that flights will be coming back to El Palomar airport in Buenos Aires as part of the nation’s plan to resume operations.
According to the Argentinean portal Aviacionline, this gave some confidence back to the country’s low-cost carriers Flybondi and JetSmart, as the country’s low-cost industry had seen its future in jeopardy as a series of controversies unveiled over the last few months. Last month, Argentina’s state-owned airport operator Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, pledged the government to “temporarily close” El Palomar airport given the operator had seen its revenue heavily impacted by COVID-19 and the flight restrictions in the country that see no commercial operations until today.
Last year surrounding communities began a judicial process against the airport arguing that the excessive sound pollution generated by aircraft movement threatened their quality of life. With many opposition groups being against the airport’s operations, including clear disfavor from current government authorities; low-cost operators feared that the pandemic could be misused to tear down the sector, which was impulsed by Argentina’s previous administration.
As government authorities confirm that low-cost carriers Flybondi and JetSmart will be able to operate at their home base, Flybondi’s president Esteban Tossuti said: “We welcome the government’s decision to keep El Palomar airport operating… we believe that domestic and regional flights from El Palomar will help regenerate very needed economic activity across Argentinean provinces. Now we just need to have a confirmation on when will flights be able to resume so that we can plan ahead and coordinate the complex set of processes that take part in air travel”.
Argentina remains one of the very few South American countries that have not yet resumed scheduled domestic flights. The country’s management approach towards mitigating the pandemic has had severe mobility consequences, with heavy restrictions on transport between provinces. This has not only left many unable to return home or travel to meet their loved ones but also halted the possibility to accelerate the resumption of economic activity.
Authorities have been pushing back the date in which they have been saying domestic flights were going to resume from July to September and now to mid-October, without any further precision on when that will exactly be. The only thing that’s clear is that getting people back to the skies is nowhere near a priority for Argentina’s current government authorities.