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!