Aerolineas del Sur, the creation of the Spanish tourism group Marsans that successfully overhauled Aerolineas Argentinas launched this week an aggressive marketing campaign in Chile hoping to speed the authorization to operate domestic flights in the turf of all powerful Lan Chile.
The full page ads in Santiago main newspapers presents Marsans as a worldwide tourism organization which employs 21,000 people and advances some of the air fares for the planned routes, which still are pending the final approval from the Chilean Aviation authorities.
According to the ads Aerolineas del Sur Santiago-Punta Arenas-Santiago air fare will cost 95,000 Chilean pesos (it does not include the boarding tax of 9,342 Chilean pesos), but anyhow is 19% cheaper than Lan Chile' lowest fare, 111,900 Chilean pesos.
Similarly with other destinations such as Iquique, Antofagasta and Puerto Montt which are also 19% cheaper and have no restrictions such as a week's anticipated reservation for Lan's lowest fare.
The tentative date for take off is November 30, but Marsans announced that next November 5 travellers will be able to check the company's portal and tourism agents will be entitled to make reservations.
"In the coming days we will extend the campaign to regional cities so people will know about our existence and plans for the coming season", said Gustavo Manns the company's Marketing Manager.
However when asked about Punta Arenas offices, the reply was that "we're working full steam and will be making announcements soon".
"Our strategy is to begin flying to the extreme regions of Chile, Punta Arenas and Iquique, and gradually move to other destinations with the purpose of capturing 20/25% of Chile's domestic market", revealed Mr. Manns.
Magallanes Region representatives in the Chilean Congress admitted that the documentation and procedures tend to be slow but they are optimistic.
"We've convened the Aviation Agency authorities to Congress to tell us what is happening and keeps us informed", said Deputy Pedro Muñoz.
The president of the Public Works and Transport Committee and who is quiet critical of Lan Chile Zarko Luksic said "the fact fares have been published means this is a serious effort". Nevertheless he admitted concern about the delay and revealed that "we've invited the Economy and Public Works and Transport ministers to the Committee; besides we're meeting with Foreign Affairs minister Ignacio Walker on Friday since this involves a foreign investment".