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Montevideo, May 22nd 2019 - 06:49 UTC

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Monday, April 2nd 2001 - 21:00 UTC
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"Insufficient" flights from Punta Arenas

Magallanes business community is concerned over the fact that another Chilean airline has gone down and the number of daily flights from Punta Arenas to Santiago is now reduced to four, which is considered "insufficient" both for passenger traffic and freight, according to reports from Punta Arenas press. Since Avant Airlines ceased operations last March 10th., Punta Arenas has been left with two carriers, Lan Chile-Ladeco and Aero Continente and this already has had an impact in fares prices. "We're now in the hands of two airlines; having more flights meant travelers had more competitive fares to the region, but that is over now", said Ms. Catalina Jaksic, president of the Austro-Chile Tourist Chamber. The cheapest return ticket now costs 97,562 Chilean pesos, equivalent to 170 US dollars, but only last September it cost half that much. In the last five years three companies operating to Magallanes have disappeared, Avant, Saba and National, indicated Jorge Norambuena, president of the Chilean Association of Tourist companies who added that the big test, both for seats and fares "will be next November when the tourist season begins". However it is local exporters of fresh produce who are suffering most the impact of less flights. "We must coordinate reservations for perishables with three and four days anticipation, because freight capacity is limited" complained Mr. Drago Covacich from Pesca Chile, one of the main exporters of fresh sea produce to Spain and the United States. "This is completely insufficient and will limit even more our activities; with less flights freight has to compete with passengers", said Mr. Covacich. Mr. Leonardo Castex from the Maritime Chamber of Punta Arenas also underlined his concern; "it's a great misfortune that a company that could regulate the market, has gone". Mr. Pedro Muñoz, elected national deputy for Magallanes anticipated he will be demanding Chilean civil aviation authorities to monitor the situation more closely because, "as carriers disappear, fares increase and this is not good for Magallanes". Furthermore Mr. Muñoz said he was convinced the two companies left acted jointly to p

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