With El Palomar blocked, JetSmart announced that it will fly from Ezeiza

The Government’s decision to block the El Palomar airport for domestic flights divides waters within the Executive Branch, but also among the affected airlines themselves. The airline JetSmart reported that it is willing “to follow the country’s regulatory framework, which now implies resuming operations from Ezeiza.”

In this way, the “low cost” that depends on the US fund Indigo Partners warned that it will continue to operate, with the resumption of its flights for the beginning of November, even with the higher costs that would mean moving its activity from El Palomar to Ezeiza. On the other hand, the other airline based in El Palomar, Flybondi (also of US capitals), reported on Sunday that moving to Ezeiza “is not an option.”

The Executive Branch decided late on Friday, when the domestic flights had already been restored after seven months of suspension, not to enable the El Palomar airport. It was through a decision of the Regulatory Body of the National Airport System (ORSNA) that established that the Ezeiza airport is the only one that meets the requirements of a “safe sanitary corridor” to restore domestic flights during the pandemic in the area of AMBA.

That decision, in turn, was adopted by the National Civil Aviation Administration (ANAC) to authorize JetSmart to resume regular passenger flights within the country, but only from Ezeiza.

Of the two airlines that have been operating in El Palomar since the beginning of 2018, JetSmart was the only one that scheduled flights and requested authorization to fly during the last days of October. Following Friday’s decision, the airline announced that it had to cancel all its flights until the beginning of November. But they chose not to break spears with the government.

This Monday, the company issued a statement stating: “We are always willing and open to follow the country’s regulatory framework, which now implies resuming operations from Ezeiza, but we hope that the JetSMART bases will be opened soon, both El Palomar and Aeroparque. , for the airline to move its operations to those airports. ”

On the other hand, Flybondi, controlled by the US investment fund Cartesian, stated that they are not going to change their flights to Ezeiza. The company currently has a single aircraft at El Palomar (it is in the process of renewing part of its fleet, which grew to five aircraft) and on Sunday issued a harsh statement with statements from its president, Esteban Tossutti, who stated that “flying from Ezeiza it is not a commercial option for Flybondi “and that the decision of the ORSNA / ANAC” shows the lack of respect towards the passengers who bought tickets to fly from El Palomar and who until the last moment do not know where their flight will depart from. Tossutti added that with this decision “thousands of jobs are put at risk.”
Flybondi and JetSmart planes parked in April at El Palomar, next to Tango 01. Photo Rafael Mario Quinteros

Flybondi and JetSmart planes parked in April at El Palomar, next to Tango 01. Photo Rafael Mario Quinteros

The Flybondi Workers’ Union Association, for its part, called for a march in Plaza de Mayo for this Wednesday morning, demanding that El Palomar be enabled.

The decision of the body that depends on the Executive Power not only generated rejection within the two “low cost” companies but also divided waters within the Government. Official sources indicated that the ORSNA measure was not consulted with the Minister of Transport, Mario Meoni, who at the beginning of this month had assured that El Palomar would continue to operate.

Furthermore, the ORSNA’s decision is not signed by its owner, Carlos Lugones Aignasse, but by the vice president of the regulatory body, Fernando José Muriel. Politically, Muriel is a member of the La Cámpora group, which today has a key role in air trade policy, through the national senator Mariano Recalde, former head of Aerolineas between 2009 and 2015. The current head of Aerolineas, Pablo Ceriani, was Recalde’s number two between 2013 and 2015.

Andrew Francis

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