Aerolineas Argentinas sounds optimistic. Despite the harsh economic environment that airline has to operate, today annouced it's optimism in the future, which sound to lift up spirits.
For starters, Aerolineas and Austral will finally be merged into one name brand. To signify this the F/A’s will receive new uniforms to be unveiled shortly. It is also negotiating codeshare agreements with Varig, Mexicana and Air France. Initially, Aerolineas will connect domestic passengers on to Air France flights. Maybe a future expanded agreement in the future? It is also studying the possibility of initiating new services to Cuba and the resumption of New York.
But the most important deal that the airline has achieved is the fact that it's about to sign new labor contracts with it’s 7 strong unions, which will increase productivity and competitiveness for the airline. The airline no longer has the need of slashing 25% of employee’s salaries as the devaluation of the peso has taken care of that.
With spirits up the airline’s most ambitious program is too build a new building in which to house it’s new corporate headquarters. The building would integrate all the company’s facets of operation, which are currently scattered through various points in Buenos Aires. This would allow the airline to save money while making it easier for the different parts of the company to communicate and work together to make the airline a better company.
Aerolineas Argentinas also states that it’s better poised to withstand the current financial catastrophe that the country is going thru due to the fact that 35% of it’s revenue (300 million dollars) is earned abroad giving the airline much needed hard currency. Something that the rest of the domestic airlines lack. It is expected that some of the other airlines might not survive.
Bacardi182 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1088 posts, RR: 1 Reply 3, posted (11 years 11 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1103 times:
They need to do some fleet work, either big the old 747s or the new A340s but keeping both along with the rest of their diverse fleet could cost needed money. The biggest problem they have is to get back all the customers they lost who swore they would never fly AR again (I am one of them!)! Cheap fares and outstanding servce is what will keep AR from going bankrupt again. Once they get all their non-argentine pasengers back then they could stand a chance, plus they need to pick and choose their routes very carefully. Does AR fly to Ausy for pride or money?
MEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4210 posts, RR: 36 Reply 4, posted (11 years 11 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1095 times:
thanks Latinplane for the info. How cynical it might sound for the public residing in Argentina, the devaluation might give opportunities to keep (domestic) costs down while making more (foreign hard currency) profit. I also think the 747-200 should be withdrawn, it might be a prestige object but it is an expensive aircraft to operate with a profit (maintenance, 3 crew, fuelburn). Maybe it's possible for them now to pick up some cheaper aircraft elsewhere, some 767-300ERs and A-340s are now available on the 2nd handmarket.
The most important thing is to regain trust in domestic and foreign markets; travel agents and passengers are reluctant to buy tickets of airlines which might be or get in trouble. After worry's if my Swissair ticket would be worth anything, I would demand some guarantees before buying an AR ticket.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
AeroArgentina From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 192 posts, RR: 2 Reply 5, posted (11 years 11 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1081 times:
I don't think any fleet changes are planned in the near future as things are going bad in Argentina. This might play to AR's advantage as many local airlines will go out of business (since AR has strong Spanish support and money ie their owners, something the other national airlines lack) and many foreign carriers are also leaving or reducing frequencies. This could be the break the airline needs to regain their old glory of the 70's and 80's.
On another note does anyone know why the layout of their A340's has changed from a three class configuration to a two class? On their website they used to seat 225 in three classes and now it's 249 in two classes.
MEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4210 posts, RR: 36 Reply 9, posted (11 years 11 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1049 times:
The 6 A-340-600s on order, due for delivery between 2004 and 2008 have been cancelled some time ago, in January 2000 already.
AeroArgentina, you are right that plane changes will be too expensive, it might be better to use a current and paid for fleet on the most efficient way possible. But still I doubt a 747-200 can ever make money, unless you can fill it and fly all year around. On the other hand, the second hand value of these is now close to nothing.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
Latinplane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2666 posts, RR: 14 Reply 10, posted (11 years 11 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1033 times:
I definitely agree with your opinion. The airline would no doubt be much better off without the 747 fleet. With the current situation a long-range aircraft with less seats would be of great value to the airline. If the airline had 767s in it’s fleet they would do wonders. They should start thinking about disposing of the 747 fleet and leasing some of those Singapore A340s.
AeroArgentina From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 192 posts, RR: 2 Reply 13, posted (11 years 11 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 980 times:
I think they own most of their 7 742's. I really like those planes, esp. in the old livery but they will have to go soon. Their capacity of 400 it probably too big for today and plus they are gas-guzzlers. A340's are probably their best bet as they are much better than 767's and 777's which are competitive with the 340's are probably WAY too expensive for AR. Just my opinion.
It would be interesting to see how full the 747 has to be year round to turn a profit, still a beautiful plane though.
AeroArgentina From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 192 posts, RR: 2 Reply 14, posted (11 years 11 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 975 times:
Just found out some concrete news:
AR will resume flights to Mexico City and Cancun twice weekly, and new service to Cuba also twice weekly. Don't know what equipment but it will start sometime during February. They are also contemplating Milan but that has not been set.
Latinplane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2666 posts, RR: 14 Reply 16, posted (11 years 11 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 960 times:
The 747s are not as profitable as you might think. The 747-200s need a lot of maintenance that is extremely expensive. Their fleet is on average 18-20 years old. require 3 man cockpit crew, around 10-12 Flight Attendants (Don't know the exact amount per flight) are extremely gas guzzlers, and all the accessories and infrastructure that the 747 needs to have in order to be properly serviced. Add to the fact that the airline's country is going thru some extremely difficult situation in which virtually the economy has collapsed and the people are not able to fly because either they don't have the cash or because they have the cash but aren't able to take it out of the bank as all accounts have been frozen for period of (a year?) by the government.
Sure the 747 is profitable in the right circumstances but not in this kind of scenario. By the way, none of the aircraft that AR operates are owned. Iberia sold them and leased them back in order to pay for the purchase of the company in the early 90s.
Lima From Argentina, joined May 1999, 1122 posts, RR: 15 Reply 17, posted (11 years 11 months 11 hours ago) and read 930 times:
Another strange move was that 2 Boeing 747's that were previously sold and leased back, where again repurchased by Aerolineas. This was one of the last operations by the SEPI administration.
Regarding routes, one article states that Malaysia Airlines approached Aerolineas in order to operate jointly. No more information is given but it means the route to South Africa. MAS last flight is on Feb.2 and then there would not be direct services between Argentina and South Africa (a market of nearly 50,000 passengers a year). When Marsans took management it announced the intention to start a route to Capetown.
Another article (Noticias journal) last month, the district manager of South African Airways also talked that SAA wants to restart flights.
Latinplane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2666 posts, RR: 14 Reply 18, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 900 times:
LIMA: I also read that about the 747s. I did find it rather weird since the airline didn't have enough money to operate.
From what I understand, MAS wasn't too happy about doing business with AR since the latter's difficult problems made it's partnership worthless. MAS like Lan Chile, Mexicana and anyone that code-shared with AR didn't get compensated for the seats that were being sold by AR's reservations. As a result, those airlines never saw the money for those sold seats. I guess that the route to South Africa will be left empty until the times are better.
I don't really understand but in my assumption, don't you believe that it's the wrong time for Aerolineas to be announcing services to Mexico and Cuba? Given the situation, how can they expect to make money on those routes? Both are tourist flights that will be flown twice weekly. Is there enough people in the country that really want to take a vacation at this moment? From what I understand, according to the travel agents their business of selling vacation packages has almost disappeared. Can anyone explain?