Aerolineas chief details fleet renewal plan

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Aerolineas Argentinas president Mariano Recalde plans a fleet renewal to feature an all new fleet of 73 jet aircraft by the end of 2014.

"Our priority is to serve the provinces of our country", Recalde explains. In an attempt to justify continued losses of the state-owned carrier he adds: "If Aerolineas were a private company, 20 low-traffic destinations would have been eliminated from the network."

Nevertheless, he predicts that the state owned airline "will break even in 2012".

Aerolineas' regional subsidiary Austral will receive its first Embraer E-190 from a 20-aircraft order next month. "After that, Austral will receive two aircraft from Embraer per month, until completing the order", Recalde says.

He also confirmed that Aerolineas' widebody fleet will consist of 15 aircraft and its narrowbody fleet of 38, in addition to Austral's Embraers. However, he still avoids pointing at any particular manufacturer. Aerolineas COO Juan Pablo Lafosse revealed earlier this year to ATI that his company was issuing requests for proposals to both manufacturers for both fleets.

In the meantime, Aerolineas has been reinforcing its operations with the Boeing Next Generation 737 and Airbus A340 aircraft.

A senior source at the Argentinean Secretary of Transport, which supervises the state owned airline, says that the 2014 deadline marked by Recalde "marks the end of the horizon for the new business plan, but is flexible as the fleet rollover may not have fully been completed by then".

However, he believes that the airline "will try to avoid costly fleet changes", and predicts Aerolineas will continue operating the 737-700s/800s on regional routes, and use A330s to complement its seven A340s.