This thread is incredibly interesting but I believe that it is too encompassing for each of us to give an accurate portrayal of the market in SouthAmerica, plus Mexico. I will try to post what I know and what I've experienced.
I believe four conditions IN
THE REGION we are discussing, are necessary for an airline to be successful
1) A solid, strong, domestic and global economy
2) Good O&D traffic
3) Good, independent, profit-oriented management
Now, if I measure each airline or country by each of these indicators things look clearer to me. Remember you can agree or disagree.
In the case of AM
as a whole and the other airlines in Mexico, things look good, but I don't think they fulfill #1 and #4 of my points. Another thing is, why the heck, in a country with over 100 million people only 20 million a year or so use air transport? This is a huge, untapped market that is overlooked and is the result of one of the worst income distributions in the world. But I would suggest to go with EddiDude's (I believe) advice, and go to the thread "future of Aeromexico."
Central America is a gamble. They have no #2, and marginal #1 at best. I'll give them points for #3 and number #4. In general TACA has incosistent service at best, while I believe CM
has reached the limit of its growth.
Colombia, well, #1 seems to be ok, #2 also, #3, lousy, and #4 has no impact whatsoever. I remember a comment where someone mention AVIANCA can rot in hell. Well, I wouldn't put it in those words, but one time in 2000, they stranded me in the middle of the summer in Barranquilla airport for 6 hours. If it wasn't for the lack of, well, everything (refreshments, food, etc) and the bats flying around inside the terminal it probably would not have been so bad...How's that for service? Continental is taking a huge risk with this investment.
Venezuela, not much to say there. I'll be surprised if any airline survives after the current problems the country is going through. So for now it can be ignored
About Ecuador. It has similar problems to Venezuela, plus TAME has a tendency to crash often. Wouldn't fly them if it was for free. I believe we can ignore them too for now.
Bolivia is very interesting. LB
is a basic, few frills airline, with good service, clean, safe and well maintained planes, the pilots are the best in the region and their fleet renovation program is making sense. They have a good strategy and have been stable and well managed for years.They might very well become a force to be reckoned with if the government sorts itself out and if the GNP starts growing from the paltry 9 Billion USD/year. Geographically they could not be in a better position in South America. Funny they don't see that, they insist on destabilizing themselves politically for want of a lost coastline.
Argentina is an interesting case. It could go both ways. AR
could continue to grow and thrive or it will crash and burn again. As MarcoPolo has said, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil are a different story. The problem with Argentina is that they are not out of the woods yet. And the reason they are having such a strong recovery is that they have suspended payments on their debt. This has created a bubble, and a fake recovery. We know what happens to bubbles. What will happen when Argentina finally needs to start paying its debts? AR
is constantly fearing that its planes will get impounded. However, with a control of 80% of the domestic market I guess that's a cashcow. I have no idea about service. Last flew them EZE
), Mexico">MEX, 747-287 in 94 in F and it was a disaster. Southern Winds is just (now) a government populist contraption and is just being kept around so people can say there's "competition" I wonder what happened with LADE? Anybody knows? In conclusion, Argentina's future to me is 60% they implode and 40% they make it.
In Chile I believe everything has been said here.. Yes, Lan is a great airline, outstandingly well managed, and all that, etc..I just think that the country needs to keep its growth rate on its economy constantly moving up, because their O&D traffic is not the best. And yes, surprise, Chile has a strong problem on the income distribution side. That's a strong weakness.
It's hard to find anything to say about Brasil. They have everything to have one of the greatest airlines in the world. And I believe they actually do. The problem on RG
is management. Maybe because it's a foundation and not primarily profit-oriented it's been managed badly for years and years. I flew RG
in '99 on their 743, C class on the upperdeck GRU
and many other domestics on the 737-300's. I was not impressed with the service. Domestically, however, I think they are very strong. I never had trouble finding a flight to anywhere, Salvador, Araripina, Ilheus, Recife, etc. And the Ponte-Aereo is a cashcow. If they could better their service a little bit and get better managed, forget about LanChile, RG
would be the airline to watch. I agree with others, VASP is in its death throes, and JJ
, well, they were great. I think, though when their owner, founder and real talent in the company died, things went downhill. I'm skeptical in the long term for them.
Peru's civil aviation has been a mess for years and years. Aeroperu was killed in '72, I think, then revived again in '78? then died again in '89 until AM
came and got it going again (and sacked it with Prevoisin laughing all the way to the bank) I don't know if Faucett is still around or AeroContinente. But the whole aviation scene there has been a mess for years, so I can't find much to say about them.
There. My two cents. this started kind of very structured, but then sort of lost that. I hope you all can read it.