LAN Argentina vice-president of corporate matters Pablo Querol says that the airline's relationships with Argentina's government are "very fluid", a week after the country's Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) rejected the registration of its 11th Airbus A320.
ANAC let LAN Argentina know that it could not register an additional A320 to its Argentinean fleet on 21 September, according to local reports. The regulator said that it would not allow "more aircraft [into Argentina] that would compete with [state-owned] Aerolineas Argentinas".
While a LAN Argentina source confirms that the intended additional aircraft "will not be operating any time soon", Querol denies reports that the airline received an official notification from the Argentinean authorities.
"We have always have an excellent relationship and with the Argentinean authorities," Querol says. "We have not received an official notification denying the registry of a new aircraft and we would, indeed, very surprised should this happen, given our fluid communication with the government".
Argentina has been stepping up protectionism since it nationalised Aerolineas Argentinas more than three years ago from Spain's Marsans travel group. The airline has lost an estimated $2 million per day since than, according to reports.
The bankruptcy of Uruguay's Pluna has been attributed to Argentina's denial of traffic rights to the country's interior.
LAN itself has also suffered from government restrictions. It was forced to transfer a number of its operations from Buenos Aires Aeroparque airport, which is near the city centre, to Ezeiza International airport, denied the registration of a Boeing 767 that would have allowed it to compete with Aerolineas to Miami, and obliged to abandon the route between Rosario and Lima when Aerolineas connected the city to its own international hub at Ezeiza.