Pluna successor Alas Uruguay to launch next April

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More than a year after the bankruptcy of Uruguay's flag carrier Pluna, its successor airline Alas-U has confirmed plans to begin operations in April 2014 under the Alas Uruguay brand name.

A source at the association of former Pluna employees confirms to Flightglobal that the launch process of Alas Uruguay has now passed its "point of no return" with the designation of industry veteran Daniel Olmedo as its general manager and the "commitment from the government to provide the necessary loans".

Olmedo was previously the general manager of Peruvian airport operator Aeropuertos Andinos.

The airline, which plans to start operations with at least three government-owned Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft that formerly flew with Pluna. They will be funded by a loan provided through the public development fund, Fondes.

The source says that the originally planned launch date in December is "impossible", but that the project is now getting "structured under Olmedo's direction" for a possible launch by next April.

The initial route network is "still uncertain", but routes to Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay are "under evaluation".

Alas Uruguay will face competition from ATR operator BQB Lineas Aereas, which has already taken over several former Pluna routes and is in the process of complementing its turboprop fleet with Airbus A320 family aircraft on longer flights.