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An Aerolineas Argentinas A330-200 in Buenos Aires (Photo: Andrzej Otrębski [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons)

Aerolíneas Argentinas to Connect Buenos Aires and Orlando Despite Impending Long-Haul Strain

Aerolíneas Argentinas on Tuesday announced the opening of a new non-stop route from Buenos Aires to Orlando. What will be only the third route to the United States for the Argentine flag carrier, the new connection will begin on Dec. 9 and with three weekly frequencies.

The new and only direct flight between Buenos Aires and Orlando will be offering during the Argentine holiday season between Dec. 9 and March 21. Beyond that date, the frequency with which the service will be carried out is yet to be determined.

As part of the three weekly services, the overnight flights from Ezeiza International Airport will depart on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. and arrive at Orlando International Airport at 7:10 a.m. The return flights from Orlando are scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays departing at 4:25 p.m. and arriving back in Buenos Aires at 4:00 a.m.

These schedules will favor connections with flights to and from domestic destinations in Argentina such as Rosario, Cordoba, Mendoza, Mar del Plata, Bahía Blanca, Tucumán and Salta. Regional hubs in neighboring countries like Asunción and Santiago de Chile, currently without nonstop service to Orlando, will also be favored by the flight times.

As Aerolíneas Argentinas also operates flights to Miami, customers will have the possibility to visit the two destinations on the same ticket, allowing them to arrive into Orlando and depart back to Argentina from Miami, or vice-versa. SkyTeam loyalists will also be satisfied by the route as the only way to current get from Buenos Aires to Orlando on a SkyTeam in a single stop is via Mexico City on Aeromexico, a detour of over 1,000 nautical miles.

“The opening of this new international route is a new effort of Aerolíneas Argentinas in its constant quest to generate more revenue and optimize its operation,” said Luis Malvido, President of the Aerolíneas Group, during the announcement presentation. “We direct all our efforts to the identification of the preferences of the passengers and to satisfy them with a quality product”.

This flight is added to the 35 routes that Aerolíneas Argentinas has opened in the last three years. The company operates 18 more routes today than in 2015 with the most recently opened international route being between Córdoba and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Of the 12,940,000 passengers transported in 2018, 3,270,000 traveled to international destinations.

The new Orlando service will be operated with the carrier’s flagship long-haul aircraft, the Airbus 330-200. Configured in a two-class configuration featuring economy and business classes, the widebody has the capacity for 262 passengers.

The route announcement was a bit intriguing as Aerolíneas Argentina’s long-haul fleet replacement plans have stalled, once again, with no definitions or actions expected for the rest of the year. While the general elections present a challenge for long-term planning, the two remaining Airbus A340-300s are expected to be retired by the end of the year, without a replacement.

The 10 A330-200 that will remain active will have significant scheduling pressure until a decision is made in 2020. With the upcoming burden on the A330s, the decision to open a new route with the aircraft, even a seasonal one, will be interesting to see played out.

For now, the relief that the Boeing 737 MAX provided in one of the airline’s most popular destinations, Punta Cana, has been impacted by the aircraft type grounding. Malvido, however, is confident on the model and has shown strong support

“Once the MAX is back in action, it is going to be one of the most scrutinized airplanes of the history and as a result of that scrutiny, it will be one of the safest. We don’t have a date for it to be back on schedule, but I can tell you this: the moment it is authorized to operate, we will program it for Punta Cana again.”

Pablo Diaz
Pablo Diaz
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