Aerolineas Argentinas has received proposals from airframers to replace its regional affiliate's 26-aircraft Embraer 190 fleet, says Argentina's transport minister Guillermo Dietrich.
"We are working on the fleet renewal, and we received proposals for the change of the Embraer fleet last week from everyone," he told FlightGlobal at the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Panama City earlier this week.
Dietrich declines to comment on the proposals, or to specify a timeline on when the state-owned airline will make a decision on the fleet type. An Aerolineas spokesperson declines to comment, saying that the proposals are currently under review.
Aerolineas' regional subsidiary Austral Lineas Aereas operates the E190s, which have an average age of seven years, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. The majority of the aircraft – 22 of the 26 – are owned by Austral. The aircraft are equipped with 96 seats each, but Aerolineas has said it wants larger aircraft in the 150-seat category for its regional needs.
The airline's former chief executive, Mario Dell'Acqua, told FlightGlobal previously that the airline would study all options from Airbus, Boeing and Embraer including the rebranded Bombardier CSeries, now known as the Airbus A220.
Aerolineas already operates the Boeing 737 Max 8 on its mainline operations, with five aircraft in service, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. These are equipped with 170 seats each. The airline has orders for another nine 737 Max aircraft.
Even as Aerolineas looks to phase out its E190 fleet, Embraer is pitching the E195-E2 to the airline.
"It is the most efficient aircraft in the segment up to 150 seats, offering a superior customer experience, and has crew commonality with today's E-Jets reducing transition costs," says Arjan Meijer, Embraer's chief commercial officer.
Aerolineas has undergone several leadership changes since the Macri administration came into office in late 2015, initiating a wave of reform in the aviation sector. The state-owned carrier now faces significantly more competition, as new carriers begin domestic service and international airlines add more flights to Argentina.
Dietrich says the state is unlikely to privatise the airline anytime soon. The loss-making carrier will likely require a $200 million subsidy from the government this year, he adds.
"We are focusing on cost reductions, product improvements and better cash flow," says Dietrich.