BoA confirms Buenos Aires as its first international route

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Bolivia's newly created state owned carrier Boliviana de Aviación (BoA) has confirmed Argentina's capital Buenos Aires as its first international destination, and now plans to launch service at the end of March.

BoA had previously announced, but never fully confirmed, 12 March as the start date, but a company source indicates that the launch had to be "delayed slightly" due to some "bureaucratic hick-ups".

Starting 26 March, BoA will operate three weekly Boeing 737-300-operated flights on a La Paz-Santa Cruz-Buenos Aires routing.

According to the source, flights will be operated "in principle" to Buenos Aires Ezeiza airport, although, given the recent opening of the city's Aeroparque downtown airport, BoA may opt to change the destination airport if it can obtain "suitable slots".

BoA was created early last year by the Bolivian government in an attempt to neutralise the de-facto domestic monopoly of Aerosur, the privately owned Santa Cruz-based airline. Plans to re-nationalise Bolivia's former flag carrier Lloyd Aereo Boliviano never materialised due to the airline's high debt level.

BoA serves six domestic destinations with a fleet of three Boeing 737-300s, falling somewhat short of its initial plans to operate five aircraft by the end of 2009.

Its main competitor Aerosur has accused the government of unfair competition by subsidising BoA's "social fares".