Aerolíneas Argentinas, Argentina's flag carrier privatised in 1991, will undergo a restructuring plan, --that includes 682 million US dollars in fresh money--, in a last minute attempt to save the company from bankruptcy and closure.
The company whose majority share package now belongs to a Spanish government company, currently has accumulated debts of 850 million US dollars and is loosing between 25 and 30 million US dollars per month.
After months of negotiations the Spaniards finally agreed to inject 650 million US dollars and the Argentine government, (that still holds a 5% stake) 32 million US dollars.
However further discussions are expected to decide on how the promised new money will be invested and ways to cut the payroll through a "voluntary" retirement system (1.200 out of a total 6.000 jobs, plus salary reductions).
To improve the company's revenue, the program includes new routes, an increase in the number of flights and partial renewal of the fleet by concentrating in Airbus 340 and Boeings.
Starting March Aerolíneas will fly directly to Paris and Milan with an only stop in Madrid. As of next week there will be an extra daily flight to Madrid and another to Miami with a stop in Punta Cana, in the Caribbean.
Regional flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil and Santiago will also be increased and beginning January transpolar crossings to New Zealand will include a weekly stopover in Ushuaia to attract Australian and New Zealand tourists.
Limiting the fleet to Airbus and Boeing, should reduce maintenance and repair costs.
Another proposal is to agree a "consensus" schedule and frequency policy with other companies in the Argentine market, to avoid saturation and increase the occupancy coefficient of aircraft.