Pluna successor Alas-U to operate three CRJ900s

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Uruguay's Alas-U, the airline formed by former Pluna employees, plans to launch flights in December after apparently reaching an agreement with the Uruguayan government over the use of some of the currently parked seven Bombardier CRJ900s previously operated by Pluna.

According to a source at the PIT-CNT union, which represents the currently jobless Pluna employees, the Uruguayan government has agreed to sell three of the grounded aircraft to Alas-U for $46 million, although it will not have to pay for the aircraft during the first years.

Additionally, the new airline will receive a government backed loan of $15 million to cover the startup costs.

Seven of Pluna's Bombardier CRJ900s are now owned by the Uruguayan state as the result of providing a government guarantee for the financial package, with which Pluna acquired the aircraft. Last year, two attempts to sell the aircraft through a public tender process failed.

Alas-U will be the only local competitor to Argentinean-owned BQB Lineas Aereas, which recently announced plans to add Airbus A320 jets to its current fleet of ATR 72-500 turboprops to be able to take over international route rights formerly owned by Pluna.