Aerolineas Argentinas confirms alliance talks

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State-owned Argentinean flag carrier Aerolineas Argentinas has confirmed for the first time that it is talking to "two worldwide alliances".

An Aerolineas spokesman confirms unofficial comments made by senior airline executives that alliance membership is now "a priority" for the airline, adding that conversations have started both with Star Alliance and SkyTeam.

The Oneworld alliance already has a presence in Argentina through Lan Argentina, the country's second most important carrier.

However, SkyTeam is the only global alliance without a South American partner, making it a potential option for Aerolineas.

No specific date has been set to launch formal negotiations with a potential alliance, says the Aerolineas spokesman, who explains the carrier "needs to solve a number of issues before starting formal talks".

Aerolineas' BSP default situation is currently hampering codeshare deals beyond the recently announced alliance with Venezuela's state carrier Conviasa. The IATA billing and settlement plan (BSP) helps to facilitate an airline's collection of payments for ticket sales from travel agents.

"We are negotiating the situation with the BSP and its creditors and it is our determination to get this situation solved as soon as possible", says the Aerolineas spokesman.

Aerolineas owes roughly $25 million in BSP payments, the majority to Spain's Iberia, which held a stake in Iberia until 2001.

The Aerolineas debt with the BSP is around US$ 25 million, most of it being owed to Spain's Iberia, which held a stake in Aerolineas until 2001. Aerolineas was eventually purchased by Marsans travel group, and became nationalised in 2008.