A low-cost airline could finally be coming to Argentina – so long as the Argentinian authorities finally grant approval for the new services. The news came after Norwegian’s Board of Directors approved plans for a new subsidiary in the South American country.
Norwegian Air Argentina was first established in January but the latest announcement signals a strong intent to establish a presence in Argentina. Norwegian has already applied for an Air Operator’s Certificate and awaits approval from the Argentinian government.
The low-cost carrier has said it wants to operate both domestic and international flights in what it describes as a “considerable operation”. The company will start hiring office staff immediately with Cain Crew recruitment to follow in the summer.
“Argentina is an interesting market with great potential that fits Norwegian’s global strategy very well, combining affordable domestic and international flights,” said Ole Christian Melhus, CEO of Norwegian Air Argentina.
He continued: “I am looking forward to continue working on realizing our plans of establishing new bases, hiring many new colleagues in Argentina and not least offering low fares to the people.”
Melhus has dismissed concerns that Norwegian might be denied an Air Operators Certificate.
“We have been very well received by Argentinian authorities and look forward to a fruitful relationship going forward.”
The Argentinian aviation market is currently dominated by the state-owned Aerolineas Argentina and LATAM – The largest airline in South America and Brazil. But in a tightly regulated market with minimum price levels, tickets are expensive and competition is lacking.
The announcement by Norwegian could be a really interesting move, especially if the government remain true to its word and opens up the Argentian aviation sector. Norwegian is one of five low-cost carriers that have asked the government for permission to operate in Argentina.
FlyBondi has already been granted authority and will begin operations in September. The airline plans to operate between San Carlos de Bariloche, Córdoba Int’l, Comodoro Rivadavia, El Calafate, Iguaçu, Mendoza, Neuquén, Resistencia, Rio Gallegos, Salta Tucumán and Ushuaia with six aircraft.
Flybondi CEO, Julian Cook is a 43-year-old aviation stalwart who previously founded Fly Baboo SA – A Swiss regional carrier, later acquired by Darwin Airlines. Cook hopes to sell airfares at Flybondi for the same price as a bus ticket.