Monday, May 31st 2004 - 21:00 UTC

UK discards Argentine airline flight to Falklands

Great Britain discarded this Monday plans for an Argentine airline to fly to the Falkland Islands.

Líneas Aéreas Federales S.A., Lafsa was awarded by the Argentine government several domestic destinations among which several in Patagonia and "South Atlantic Islands".

However when consulted, the British Embassy in Buenos Aires said that currently "there are no plans for other regular flights" than those currently operated by Lan Chile, and charter flights from the continent, which this last season were severely limited by Argentine authorities.

According to this Monday's Argentine government gazette, Transport Secretary Resolution 350/2004 extends authorization for Lafsa to fly passengers, freight and mail to Ushuaia, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands. Other destinations include Comodoro Rivadavia, Bariloche, El Calafate, Puerto Iguazú, Salta, Tucumán, Córdoba, Mendoza and Bahía Blanca.

However there's a catch since Lafsa which was created last year by President Nestor Kirchner's administration to absorb redundant staff from two bankrupt airlines, Dinar and Lapa, currently operates with Southern Winds aircrafts because it has no units of its own.

British Embassy sources in Buenos Aires added to the Argentine agency DyN that "there's an agreement for regular commercial Lan Chile flights to the Islands, and these flights once a month land in Rio Gallegos".

Further on the Embassy sources indicated there are also "agreements for private flights", and the United Kingdom is actually "waiting for a reply from Argentina to a British proposal extensive to all charter flights between the continent and the Falklands", and currently "there are no plans for other regular flights".

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