Aerolíneas Argentinas announced Friday a series of adjustments to its operations which will increase the seating capacity by 10% for peak summer season destinations - DAP starts flying between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas - The neverending story of Bolivia's haunted airport.
Among those changes is the replacement of Boeing 737-700 aircraft for larger Boeing 737-800s, Aerolineas Managing Director Diego García explained. The rest of the improvements consist basically on new routes to maximize operations and connection times.
Following the reopening of Mendoza's El Plumerillo airport in December, the airline will be adding direct flights to Mar del Plata and Florianopolis from there while keeping its usual services along the oil rich region of Patagonia.
Mar del Plata will offer 25 weekly flights to Buenos Aires, plus the afforementioned direct flights to Mendoza as well as three nonstop weekly flights to Rosario and five daily services to Córdoba and Tucumán.
The seating capacity for flights to Iguazú is to be increased by 22% from either Córdoba or Buenos Aires. But despite the airline's announcements, Iguazú's airport is to undergo refurbishing for about four months starting in January and negotiations are being carried out to use Paraguay's Guaraní airport at Ciudad del Este instead.
Córdoba is rapidly becoming a second hub for the airline, with 6 weekly flights to Calafate and Rosario, 5 weekly flights to Iguazú, 4 to Jujuy, 3 to Resistencia and Tucuman and 4 weekly flights that stop over enroute from Ushuaia to Salta as well as the daily oil corridor stretch (Cordoba - Mendoza - Neuquén - Comodoro Rivadavia and back).
A daily Ezeiza-Rosario-Córdoba flight will act as a feeder for the company's international routes to Miami and the Caribbean. Other international destinations from Córdoba are Punta del Este (3 weekly flights), Florianópolis (2), Rio de Janeiro (2), Salvador (1) and Porto Seguro (1).
Meanwhile, in the southern tip of the continent, Chilean carrier Aerovías DAP began a biweekly service between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas Wednesdays and Saturdays. Aerovias DAP Managing Director Roque Palacios explained that at first a British-manufactured BAe type aircraft is to be used for the operations, but the company is prepared to resort to the smaller 19-seat Twin Otter in case the initial demand projections are not met.
In Bolivia, The Ministry of Public Works Friday sent a note to the company Convisa to resume reparation works in the Alcantarí airport of the city of Sucre at the earliest, following the second accidental death on Thursday, the one of an engineer which followed a previous incident in which a technician had also lost his life. Both casualties fell from over 10 metres in height while dealing with roof leaks.
However, the Bolivian Society of Engineers (SIB) Friday produced a report which casts shadow on the viability of the airport's recovery. The current infrastructure has architectural deficiencies in aspects such as functional, space, technology, construction, conditioning, lack of procedures and equipment to make the start of the international airport certification process possible, said SIB President Gustavo Pereira.