Aerolíneas Argentinas has gone full circle and ended up back under state control, after Spain's Grupo Marsans agreed to sell the airline and its subsidiary Austral back to the Argentine Government. This put an end to a previous plan to sell the carrier to local businessman Juan Carlos Lopez Mena.

The Government plans to acquire all of Marsans' shares in the airline, although details over the sale price are still being ironed out. Announcing the re-nationalisation in late July, Argentina's transport secretary Ricardo Jaime said: "After 18 years Aerolíneas Argentinas will return to state hands in 60 days. During this time, the Government and Grupo Marsans, in its position as main shareholder through Interinvest, will decide on the true value of the shares in both companies."

Argentina's President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner - the wife of former President Nestor ­Kirchner, who presided over the re-nationalisation of several ­public service companies earlier this decade - says that taking Aerolíneas Argentinas back under state control is aimed at turning around the loss-making carrier and improving its damaged image. "The key thing is to have a flag carrier and to have a high quality and efficient service so as not to lose all that we have gained as a tourist destination," says President Kirchner in a statement on the Government's website.

Julio Alak, the former mayor of La Plata in Argentina, has been appointed as the carrier's new general manager.


Source: Airline Business