Argentina's decision to demand Lan Chile to discontinue charter flights from Santiago to the Falkland Islands was described as irrational by Denise Landau, Executive Director of the International Association of Antarctic Tours Operators, IAATO, adding that everyone including Argentina stands to lose business.
IAATO describes itself as a member organization dedicated to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to Antarctica.
The non authorization of these flights has caused both operational and economical impacts and consequences for those companies who have sold itineraries based on the Santiago de Chile-Falklands link insists Ms. Landau emphasizing that "acording to consumer laws in many countries, tourists can cancel their trips or demand their money back if the itinerary is changed and especially the embarkation and disembarkation ports".
Ms. Landau alleges having contacted the United States Department which "is willing to work through diplomatic channels as a concern for US businessmen and US citizens travelling".
The official IAATO "Lan Chile Charters to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)" release follows:
"Several of our IAATO member companies are extremely disappointed by Argentina's decision to demand that Lan Chile discontinue the charter flights from Santiago to Stanley. Antarctic Tourism has successfully managed to avoid political confrontations for nearly 35 years. Antarctic Tourism is a peaceful activity inviting travelers from all over the world to travel to remote environments in the southern ocean. Our voyages depart from Argentina, Chile, Falkland Islands, (Islas Malvinas), New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Several of our member companies have chartered aircrafts for many years to fly from Santiago to Stanley giving the passengers an opportunity to have are more in depth visit to the Falklands (Malvinas), South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula by flying to or from Stanley and avoiding a day at sea".
"By not allowing these flights to operate the government of Argentina has caused both operational and economical impacts and consequences for those companies who have sold itineraries based on the ability to fly from Santiago direct to Stanley during this current season. According to consumer laws in many countries, tourists can cancel their trips or demand their money back if the itinerary is changed and especially the embarkation and disembarkation ports. This decision has negatively impacted our operators. The travel business as everyone is aware has had difficulties the last several years and the decision to prevent Lan Chile from operating charter flights from Santiago, Chile to Stanley has further created a negative problem for the Antarctic Tourism industry. In the end everyone including Argentina stands to lose business versus gain by this irrational decision".
Denise Landau Executive Director Website: www.iaato.org