Argentina's Sol considers regional jet operations

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Rosario, Argentina-based Saab 340 operator Sol Lineas Aereas is considering the integration of Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets in its fleet, and will initially acquire the aircraft on wet leases to test the business model.

Sol's director of planning, Horacio Darre, tells Flightglobal that the airline is "evaluating the incorporation of 50-seater jets" to service long thin routes, which are "typical for Argentina's vast geography".

However, he says that no decision has been made yet.

"We are receiving technical assistance from Air Nostrum [Iberia's Valencia, Spain-based regional franchise] to see if we can operate these aircraft profitably in our network and market environment," he says.

While Darre is reluctant to confirm firm plans, other sources indicate that, should Sol decide to take CRJ200s, Air Nostrum could set up an initial wet-lease operation with three jets which, if successful, could be transferred to Sol's own operation at a later stage.

In recent months Sol has intensified its cooperation with state-owned flag carrier Aerolineas Argentinas with the objective to set up and feed regional hubs in the centre and south of the country - an operation which could require longer-range jet aircraft.

If the plan gets its final go-ahead, it would mark the return of the CRJ200 to Argentina nearly a decade after now-defunct Southern Winds operated the type and its Bombardier Dash 8 turboprops in a successful regional network out of its Cordoba hub.

Cordoba, Argentina's second largest city, could also become one of the epicentres of the eventual partnership between Aerolineas Argentinas and Sol.