Boliviana de Aviacion confirms launch date for Madrid flights

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Bolivian state-owned airline Boliviana de Aviacion (BoA) has confirmed 22 November as the launch date of its first intercontinental route from Santa Cruz de la Sierra to Madrid.

According to a BoA spokesman, the airline has leased an Airbus A340 aircraft to operate on the new route twice weekly initially.

Until its bankruptcy in April, Santa Cruz-based airline Aerosur served the route with a Boeing 747-400 leased from Virgin Atlantic, but its grounding left thousands of passengers stranded, among whom were many low-income migrants who have not been able to return to Spain since then.

A source familiar with the situation says there are more than 2,000 passengers with Aerosur reservations, adding that the Bolivian government is considering subsidising their travel on BoA.

BoA also plans to start flying to Miami within the next few months.

Spain's SkyTeam member airline Air Europa is also trying to fill the void in the market created by Aerosur's demise, and launched its own flights from Madrid to Santa Cruz earlier this month.