• Tom Jordan

Argentina looks to ban all commercial flights until September

Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330 departs John F Kennedy Airport. Photo By Andrew Pries | AeroNewsX |

The South American nation of Argentina on Monday put in place what is possibly the world's strictest ban on commercial flights, announcing that all commercial flights with the exception of cargo and repatriation flights would be banned until September 1st 2020.

Argentina's borders had already been closed since March when the decree was put in place by the National Civil Aviation Administration on the 27th of April 2020. The ban goes as far as banning the purchase of tickets for all commercial flights to, from and within Argentina. According to a spokesman for Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, "The problem was that airlines were selling tickets without having authorisation to operate on Argentine soil."

The new ban covers all airlines operating within Argentina including Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral Lineas Aereas, Andes Lineas Aereas, Flybondi, JetSmart Argentina and Norwegian Air Argentina. However, the airline that will arguably be most affected by the commercial flight ban will be the LATAM Airlines Group which has a significant domestic presence in Argentina, among other countries through Southern and Latin America.

Flag carrier Aerolineas Argentinas, despite its position as the largest airline in the country, will be able to survive this extremely difficult period through its ownership by the Government of Argentina, as long as the government is willing to subsidise it. However, the ban is expected to have a detrimental effect on smaller low-cost airlines which have rapidly expanded within Argentina in recent years and are relying on solid profits to repay the costs of their sudden and abrupt growth.

The ban has been slammed by the Argentinian workers union, ALTA, which lobbies on behalf of several groups of airline employees around Latin America. It has warned the government that the new bans posed an "imminent and substantial risk" to thousands of jobs in the aviation sector throughout Argentina. However these claims were deflected by the President's spokesperson who stated the decision to implement the ban came from a "consensus between the government and the airline sector." But for now the commercial flight ban remains in place until the September 1st and will remain under constant review, according to the Argentinian government.

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