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Uruguayan airline Pluna planning to open new domestic routes in Chile

Friday, May 20th 2011 - 10:24 UTC
Full article 2 comments
Pluna vice president Arturo Demalde Pluna vice president Arturo Demalde

For years LAN Chile has dominated the Chilean airways, but recent reports suggest Uruguayan based airline Pluna is hoping to open up new domestic flights within Chile, increasing the competition already offered by Sky airlines and PAL airlines.

Pluna vice president Arturo Demalde confirmed to El Mercurio: “Yes, we are hoping to continue to grow in Chile.”

Currently 10% of Pluna’s operations involve flights to and from Santiago. In Chile Pluna flights are only available internationally and almost all flights involve a layover in Montevideo, Uruguay.

“We are currently evaluating which cities we would want to operate in within Chile, with two criteria: the volume of the potential demand, and the cities’ connectivity with Pluna’s network destinations,” said Demalde. “After that we will decide the best cities to open up new routes.”

While Demalde would not comment on the cities being considered, he did say that they are all destinations that are good for smaller planes, with a 90 seat capacity and which are not the best for longer flights.

In the past year Pluna has added three daily flights between Chile and Uruguay, increasing Pluna’s Chilean passenger numbers by 40%.

“We currently have a higher proportion of passengers than LAN in terms of the capacity we offer,” Demalde said.

Pluna, a low cost airline, could become a major contender within Chile, as tickets remain cheap due to the “unbundling” system the airline uses.

Pluna charges for checked luggage, as well as any food or drinks aboard.

“This allows us to maintain low-cost tickets, even if the price of gas continues to rise.”

Demalde explained that currently Pluna has an agreement with TAM, a Brazilian airline that may soon merge with LAN. Under the present agreement TAM and Pluna work to provide destinations to separate cities.

But the agreement will change if LAN and TAM’s proposed merger is approved by Chile’s Free Competition Defence Tribunal.

By Amanda Reynoso-Palley - The Santiago Times


Top Comments

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  • GeoffWard

    It is really hard to negotiate 'slots' in the landing/takeoff schedules of the key international airports anywhere in the world.

    With the LAN-TAM merger, I've a feeling that Pluna will be relegated to Montevideo-Santiago direct, and minor airports/poor slots elsewhere across Chile.
    Pluna is a bit like Azul in Brasil, fighting for market space amongst the big-boys. Also a bit like Ryanair in the UK - basic, no frills, but able to be burned-off like BA did to Laker Airways.
    It's a hard-ball business.

    May 21st, 2011 - 09:01 pm 0
  • ManRod

    Pluna, which is one of the few small and good airlines on our continent, is doing a dangerous plan... we, as consumers do welcome additional competition in our chilean domestic market, though being realistic: Every other foreign Airline, who has tried to harvest in LAN's backyard, has burnt their fingers. There is Aerolineas, who withdraw with Aerolineas del Sur some years ago. Or others even burnt alive, like then main carrier peruvian Aerocontinente, who openly challanged LAN and totally failed while it tried, also in their own market (they do no longer exist), where you can almost only fly LAN Peru nowerdays.

    LAN is a very aggressive company when it comes to defend own interests, they love to be challenged by competitors and horribly crashing them afterwards. I would almost say, they are abusive. On the other side, as a customer, they are a very secure and good airline, to a level no other Latinamerican airline can offer.

    May 23rd, 2011 - 01:32 pm 0
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