Bolivia's state owned airline Boliviana de Aviacion (BoA) is in the process of adding three Boeing 737-300 aircraft to its fleet of five as its traffic grows more than 60% in the aftermath of the grounding of its private competitor Aerosur in April.
BoA's vice president technical, Wilmer Balderrama, says that the sudden surge in demand has allowed BoA to add three additional aircraft.
"Our business plan was established with five 737-500s this year, but Aerosur's disappearance forced us to change plans. In July we added one aircraft, in August the second one and in October the last one will start flying for us," Balderrama says, adding that the last aircraft was previously operated by Brazil's Webjet and is on lease from AWAS.
"We are preparing ourselves for expansion at all levels, which includes the conclusion of our IOSA [IATA Operational Safety Audit] process by December this year," he explains. "This is necessary as we will require interline and, eventually, code share agreements to support the long haul routes to Madrid and Miami we plan to launch before the end of the year."
He admits that the launch of BoA's long haul flights has been delayed because of some regulatory hiccups over traffic rights, but adds that the process of selecting and incorporating long haul aircraft is proving longer than expected.
"We are looking for two-engine widebody aircraft, which are within our budget," he says, adding that the airline considered the Airbus A340, but later dropped the idea. "A Boeing 767 or an Airbus A330 will be suitable for the route."
In addition to its domestic flights, BoA is operating daily flights to Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires and plans to add destinations in Northern Argentina in 2013, which might include Salta, Tucuman and Cordoba.