Brazil's Gol expects to finally launch services to Buenos Aires' Aeroparque airport by the end of this year.

Gol CFO Leonardo Pereira says the low-cost carrier has secured the traffic rights to move some of its Buenos Aires Ezeiza services to Aeroparque but is waiting until a runway renovation and extension project at the downtown airport is completed.

"We have the rights but it's a question of the renovations," Pereira tells ATI and Flightglobal. "Before year end we should start to have some flights."

Aeroparque is slated to temporarily close later this month for the six-week construction project. During the project, which is expected to be completed in early December, all Aeroparque flights will operate from Ezeiza.

Argentina early this year changed its policy on Aeroparque, which previously was restricted to domestic and Uruguayan services, opening up the airport for flights to other neighbouring countries. But while Aerolineas Argentinas quickly moved all its Brazil, Chile and Paraguay services from Ezeiza to Aeroparque in March, other carriers had trouble securing government permissions, slots and terminal space to move their Ezeiza services.

LAN was the second carrier to launch non-Uruguayan international services at Aeroparque, moving some of its Brazil and Chile flights from Ezieza in May. TAM more recently moved some of its Sao Paulo-Buenos Aires flights to Ezeiza as well as its daily Porto Alegre-Buenos Aires service. But Gol has not yet begun operating to Aeroparque.

According to Innovata, Gol currently operates 10 daily flights to Ezeiza, including six non-stop frequencies to Sao Paulo Guarulhos and one each to Rio de Janeiro Galeao, Porto Alegre, Florianopolis and Santiago in Chile. Pereira says some of these flights will be moved to Aeroparque by the end of this year while others will remain at Ezeiza, but Gol has not yet decided which specific flights will move.

He says Gol does not plan to increase capacity in the Argentina market but will simply shift some capacity from Ezeiza to Aeroparque.

Gol currently only serves Santiago on a Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo-Buenos Aires-Santiago routing, having earlier dropped direct services between Brazil and Chile. Pereira says Gol has no intentions of resuming direct services between Brazil and Chile although LAN and TAM, which are now preparing to merge, are currently the only two carriers in this market.

Pereira says Gol didn't make money when it operated direct flights between Brazil and Chile but when it started to serve Santiago from Buenos Aires "it was a completely different issue". He expects other carriers may launch services between Brazil and Chile to compete against the newly combined LAN-TAM but for Gol the merger does not change its thinking. Pereira expects Gol to primarily focus on international routes of three hours or less although its fleet of Boeing 737-700/800s has the range to operate longer flights.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news