Five airlines granted 135 new routes by Argentina

Government approves scores of new routes to give Argentines greater travel options and expects chosen airlines will invest almost $3 billion over the next few years.

An Avianca jet lands at Santos Dumont Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The carrier is one of five to have been approved for new Argentina routes. Ricardo Moraes / Reuters

Argentina’s civil aviation authority has approved 135 new routes for five airlines looking to start operating in Latin America’s third-biggest economy at more competitive prices.

The president Mauricio Macri’s government estimates airlines such as Colombia’s Avianca will invest US$1.7 billion in Argentina in the next four years, giving Argentines more travel options.

The companies approved, pending a green light from the transportation ministry, are FB Líneas Aéreas, Andes Líneas Aéreas, American Jet, Alas del Sur and Avian Líneas Aéreas, the local unit of Avianca Holdings.

The companies have three months to prove their technical capacity before they can start flying the routes, according to documents from the aviation authority, Anac.

The government’s embrace of more competition in Argentina’s skies, particularly of budget airlines, has generated protests by airline employees who fear the competition will undercut benefits enjoyed by employees of state-run Aerolineas Argentinas and LAN Argentina, a unit of LATAM Airlines Group.

Low cost airlines such as Norwegian Air Shuttle are also expected to request routes in Argentina in coming months.

* Reuters

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