The Falkland Islands government announcement that it has chosen Latam as preferred operator to provide a second commercial flight between the Islands and the continent, with a stopover once a month in Argentina, did not come without a reaction from the Argentine government.
In effect the Argentine foreign ministry released a brief note saying that nothing has yet been confirmed from the initiative jointly launched by Argentina and the UK, and that the different proposals from airlines interested in such a link, are still under consideration by the competent Argentine authorities.
Early Thursday afternoon the Falklands government said that LATAM had been was chosen as the preferred operator on its proposal for a mid-week flight between the Falkland Islands and Sao Paulo in Brazil. However, further negotiations with LATAM will include discussions on how the stop once a month in Argentina will be met.
Evidently, this is what the Islanders want, was the first reaction in Buenos Aires, recalling that in September 2016, Argentina and UK agreed on a joint communiqué to defreeze bilateral relations, and which among other issues helped with the process to identify the remains of tens of Argentine soldiers buried at the Argentine military cemetery in Darwin.
Furthermore for the Macri administration, the Islands announcement is erred since it is not the flight option decided by both governments. The announced flight is one of several options under assessment, but is not the only one.
The Argentine foreign ministry media release 307/18 states that the different proposals presented following on the joint actions undertaken by the governments of Argentina and UK to identify airlines from Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay willing to establish an additional scheduled commercial flight between the continent and the Malvinas Islands, with a stopover in an Argentine continental airport of relevance, are still under analysis by the competent Argentine authorities.
Once the whole of the proposals forwarded have been assessed by the Argentine government on their viability and convenience, the corresponding authorizations will be issued, if in effect one of those interested airlines is chosen, and in conformity with the Argentine law system and in the framework of the applicable air services accords.
It should be recalled that this process is covered by the Joint Declaration and Exchange of Notes accord, subscribed by Argentina and the UK under the sovereignty safeguards from 14 July 1999, the instruments which are the legal basis for flights between the Malvinas Islands and third countries.
Apparently according to Argentine diplomatic sources, if the Chilean/Brazilian airline is confirmed she would become the only air service between South America and the Islands, since Latam currently flies on Saturdays to the Islands from Punta Arenas, Chile, and once a month stops over in Rio Gallegos, Argentine Patagonia.
Increasing connectivity between Argentina and the Falklands is considered by the current Argentine government as a very significant symbolic step forward, with an opportunity to advance in other fields of the relation, such as the integration of the Islanders to the continent.
Likewise LATAM offices at mid afternoon in a release indicated that so far the company had not been notified of any definition on the issue and was awaiting for the announcement from the competent authorities Latam admits having presented a proposal to complement the current air service, but any changes regarding the route, frequency and aircraft to operate, are subject to the agreement between both governments, Argentina and UK.