Chilean entrepreneur Uauy aims to revive Regional Paraguaya

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Chilean air transport entrepreneur Fernando Uauy has acquired a controlling stake in ailing South American fledgling carrier Regional Paraguaya, and plans to convert it into a charter operator.

The airline, which started flights with a pair of Boeing 737-200 aircraft earlier this year after numerous delays, has never managed to really consolidate operations and was recently grounded by Paraguayan authorities.

Uauy is a well-known businessman who co-founded National Airlines - the carrier which ultimately developed into Sky Airline, and which is now fully-owned by Uauy's former partner Jurgen Paulmann.

Regional Paraguaya needs a capital injection of about $6 million, Uauy acknowledges.

He plans to relocate the airline's managing division to Santiago, Chile, but maintain its operational base in Paraguay's capital Asuncion. He says Asuncion is an "ideally located airport" to operate charter flights between Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

Uauy does not indicate whether he intends to reactivate the air operator's certificate in Paraguay or recertify the carrier in Chile. But a source familiar with the operation says that Chile's ICAO-compliant status with the US FAA coud represent an "important commercial selling point" when dealing with tour operators outside of Paraguay.