I knew it! The hot air merchants are finally beginning to reveal their true colours. After looking for some of the most used aircraft on the second hand market that can still pass for "modern", Marsans will probably jump ship and leave AR
to sort themselves out, minus half their Jumbos and possibly an MD
-88 too, due for transfer to Air Plus in May. Does anyone here honestly think that Marsans will procure 45 B737-300/500s
over the next 5 years--in fact, don't answer that: By 2009, there will be plenty of said aircraft past their 20th birthdays, in other words, perfect candidates for AR
's fleet "rennovation".
I don't mean to jump to conclusions so soon, but I've suspected something wrong with Marsans since the very beginning. If they were serious about AR
, they would acknowledge the limitations dictated by the devalued economy, and not go around announcing grandiose lies the size of the moon about the aircraft they have promised and the routes they intended to open. Granted, they resuscitated AR
on their death-bed and returned them to "profitability", but they needn't have bitten-off more than they could chew.
But maybe it's just as well. Marsans had close to zero experience of running airlines prior to 2001. Air Plus in Spain, although it's a charter operation, leaves much to be desired. AR
on the other hand, with half a century of history and a sizeable fleet, was always a great source of "free aircraft"--not how in addition to the 747-200 no longer wanted that joined Air Plus in 2003, 3
more have since followed, while AR
's 747-400 fleet continues to comprise no more than a pair. The idea was to keep the -200s until all
the -400s had arrived, and then transfer them one by one to the subsidiaries, starting with Chile.
Who knows, in the imperfect world we live in, Argentina's economy is susceptible to catastrophic collapses, and AR
is prone to uninspired, inefficient and at times moronic management, whether by Argentine Government "ñoquis"
, SEPI or Marsans. AR
has struggled to make profits or even break even for at least 20 years, even during times when their service was certifiably excellent (like the '80s). AR
has had the misfortune of enduring all it has, yet ironically, the good fortune of somehow landing on their feet in the end. They have been around, pretty much uninterrupted, since 1950. The only other airline with more history in Argentina is LADE, who don't really count since they branch off the Air Force.
Argentina as a whole is a macrocosm of AR
, perhaps: Everything that can go wrong, does, yet something never changes, for good and for bad, and from time to time, Argentina has an airline that does it justice and represents the hard work of so many in the business and their potential for world-class service. The nagging problem is simply inconsistency, which in all honesty, is a nationwide problem in Argentina and has been since long before I was born. In this context, whatever Marsans do will not surprise me. They are not the first to do what they have done/will do, and there will certainly be others, until Argentines opt to tune into the cold, harsh realities of the real aviation world and play the game. Until then, Argentine aviation will continue to be renowned for being as dysfunctional, timewarped and retrograde as it is.
I dream of a day when those who found and run Argentine airlines pertain to a more honest and dynamic group of individuals than some of the scum who have intentionally driven so many airlines into the ground over the course of the last two decades or so. Just as Argentina was among the first countries to take to the skies almost a century ago, Argentina also risks being among the first countries to, in aeronautical terms, fall to the ground. Hopefully, a nice, fresh thermal will blow the bird out of its decadent dive and allow it to soar, to soar like the condor she has the potential to be.
Saludos, and apologies for making this a bit "heavy"!