LAN Airlines announced that “due to a decision by the (Argentine) national aeronautical authorities,” the company has been forced to reschedule flights leaving from the Buenos Aires City Aeroparque Metropolitan airport bound for Sao Paulo and Santiago de Chile.
The flights being rescheduled are LA4540/LA4541 and LA4544/4545 (Brazil) and LA4638/4639 (Chile).
“The company regrets any inconveniences that the National Administration of Civil Aviation’s (ANAC) resolution 994/2012 may cause on the passengers,” a press release said.
The new resolution strips LAN Argentina of the rights granted to the company in March, 2010, allowing its regional flights to take off from the Aeroparque airport, like national airline such as Aerolineas and Austral companies do.
The new resolution from ANAC forbids LAN flights from flying to and from the Aeroparque airport.
The decision to discriminate Lan Airlines has been interpreted as another possible step in the Argentine government’s efforts to isolate and blockade the Falkland Islands, since Lan operating from Punta Arenas in the extreme south of Chile flies the only weekly link of the Islands with the South American conflict.
Last month Mercosur agreed to bar from its ports all vessels flying what it described as the ‘illegal’ Malvinas flag. The decision was taken at the Mercosur summit in Montevideo with the proposal presented by Uruguay in support of Argentina’s ‘legitimate sovereignty rights’ over the Islands and in coherence with what has been the standing policy of Latin American countries.
A similar attitude was expected to be discussed at the end of January when the Argentine president was scheduled to visit her Chilean counterpart Sebastian Piñera in Santiago. At the UN General Assembly President Cristina Fernandez mentioned Argentina was considering banning the weekly flight from Punta Areas that must cross Argentine airspace to reach the Falklands from Chile.
However the summit was postponed because of Cristina Fernandez thyroid surgery.
On Tuesday Foreign Secretary William Hague in an update report to Parliament warned the UK would resist any attempts to blockade the Falkland Islands and reiterated the Islanders’ right to self determination.