Aerolíneas Argentinas right back where it started

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Struggling Argentine flag carrier Aerolíneas Argentinas has been re-nationalised, with majority owner Grupo Marsans of Spain having agreed to sell the airline and its subsidiary Austral back to the government for an undisclosed sum.

In a celebratory statement on its website the Argentine government, led by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, says the re-nationalisation is aimed at quickly making Aerolíneas Argentinas a successful operation.

And that will be no easy feat at a debt-laden carrier with a history of uneasy labour relations and strikes, which is reputed to be losing about $1 million a day!

Argentina’s President says in the statement: “The key thing is to have a flag carrier and to have a high quality and efficient service so as not to lose all that we have gained as a tourist destination.”

So things have changed quite rapidly since I accosted Aerolíneas Argentinas director of corporate affairs, Jorge Molina, at the IATA AGM in Istanbul and practiced my rusty Spanish on him.

At the time he told me and I reported that the government planned to increase its stake to 20%, with most of the carrier’s shares going to local businessman Juan Carlos Lopez Mena. 

News stories are often moving targets, but at least I got to practice my Spanish with this one!

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One Response to Aerolíneas Argentinas right back where it started

  1. Diego Cerviño 8 November, 2008 at 12:19 am #

    Arg. Govt’ try to say that Marsans has a lot of debt in managing Aerolineas Argentinas.

    This is because they don’t allow Marsans to increase the price of the tickets and to subside the JP1, which for Arg. Gov’t remains in U$S 40.

    Nobody could expect Aerolineas to be profitable with this kind of control.
    The state is clearly strangling Marsans administration to win its control, nevertheless Marsans was not eager to sell Aerolineas Argentinas.
    Then, the State encouraged (and subsided) the seven workers associations that take part in Aerolineas’ every-day operations to strike over and over again.

    This made Aerolineas to fall in debts, and the Gov’t to make the users think that would be great if they take control of the situation.

    Sadly, we (the argentines)know how much money they can steal from AA and how the workers association took a lot of many out of AA when it was part of the State.

    Diego Cerviño
    Editor of 1000pies.wordpress.com

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