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Argentina Bans Commercial Flight Sales Until September

Argentina Bans Commercial Flight Sales
Photo by Diego Jimenez on Unsplash

Argentina Bans Commercial Flight Sales Until September

The National Aviation Administration of Argentina announced on Monday that is blocking the sale of commercial flight tickets until September 1, 2020.  The move comes amid the country’s coronavirus response.

The travel industry criticized the decree for the impact it will have on airlines and travel industry jobs.  In an already difficult environment, industry insiders argue this will likely lead to thousands of people losing their jobs.

Reuters reports:

“It has been understood to be reasonable to set September 1, 2020 for the purpose of rescheduling regular operations or requesting authorizations for non-regular operations of passenger air transport subject to the effective lifting of restrictions imposed on commercial air transport and operating modalities,” the decree by the National Civil Aviation Administration said.

Part of the decree’s aim is to prevent airlines from ticketing flights not approved by the government.

The government of Argentina claims airlines were selling tickets for flights not authorized by the government.  The government believes the decree is necessary to prevent those sales from happening.  The country already banned travel from countries with considerable rates of infection, including China and the United States.  Argentina also banned European countries from travel to the nation as well.

On Saturday, President Alberto Fernandez announced he was extending the national lockdown until May 10, 2020.  Johns Hopkins University reports that Argentina has 3,892 cases of coronavirus and 192 deaths.

Industry Response

The Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) criticized the order, claiming it “affects the future of the entire commercial aviation value chain in Argentina and the region, including domestic and international airlines, tourism and related sectors, putting at risk thousands of jobs. Also, Argentina’s connectivity with the world, as well as its domestic airline network which is vital for the transportation of essential supplies and the economic and social well-being of the nation, is being put under threat.”

The organization said airline’s need to continue paying about 50% of their fixed cost while not generating any income.  The dilemma is likely to impact the airline industry, and the order further hinders their ability to make money.  Tourism contributes to about 10% of Argentina’s Gross Domestic Product and generates 9.4% of the jobs in Argentina, according to the ALTA press release.

Bottom Line

This will likely have a significant impact on the airline industry and tourism in the country.  This is likely to only further impact the industry, particularly in a country that gets 10% of its GDP from tourism.  As Argentina bans commercial flight sales, it demonstrates the actions governments will take even at the expense of their travel industry.  This is not a criticism.  But it demonstrates the actions governments will take in response to this pandemic.  From stimulus packages, to travel bans, to social distancing, these policies will likely continue.

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  1. The entire re-opening program/schedules varies by each of the 220 countries on the planet. It will be very confusing over the next months to figure out the hotch potch matrix of where you are allowed to travel to, under what restrictions, etc. This will especially affect the lucrative big-spending business travelers throughout the summer. Just today, April 27, San Francisco, California and the surrounding five counties extended the lock down through the month of May. Again, it’s all over the map and will cause some people to not travel by air this summer. I think the summer of 2020 will be more domestic, local vacations. I cannot imagine people right now booking a plane ticket to Europe post May 15 (when the current EU/Schengen ban ends – if it isn’t extended as well). Just too many uncertainties right now. I suspect things will be more clear worldwide by July and things will take off in earnest by then into August and be back to relative normality by October. Already, hotel bookings for Spain, Italy, Greece are way up, including air tickets by fun and sun-starved northern Europeans awash in saved cash and bored out of their minds. These countries should be fully open by July, if not sooner. The end is just about here. It will vary by country, but green shoots are to be seen. Life goes on. Airlines, most of them in Europe and North America, are sitting on nearly 100 billion in free grant government cash or zero interest loans. Exception is Virgin Atlantic. But there’s an island called Necker that’s available as collateral,just in case UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reading this – at least Richard Branson hopes he is.

    1. I also hope Boris Johnson is reading this haha! But on a serious note, great points!

      1. Does this mean already scheduled and booked flights are being cancelled from non Argentinian airlines as well?

        1. My understanding is that all domestic and international flights to and from Argentina are canceled through September 1, which is when it will be reevaluated. The exception being those flights explicitly approved by the government, which includes repatriation flights for Argentinians stranded abroad.

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