The airline industry was just about tottering to its feet and making baby steps after the Covid-19 shutdown when Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine, prompting a world fuel and cost of living crisis, in addition to the tragic and ongoing human catastrophe.
Friends and visitors have complained recently about the sharp increase in international air fares: and this in an industry which in many countries was heavily subsidised through 2020’s lockdown.
A note of warning was recently sounded by the Vice President of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for the Americas, Peter Cerdà, who said of my adopted home nation: “Argentina is one of the most expensive countries in the region in terms of surcharges, levies and taxes: charges on international travellers are particularly high, and are subsidising internal flights. To create a genuinely competitive system, they need to reduce them.”
Reassuringly, there are some promising shoots of recovery in the internal flights market: from next week (Monday 4th July), the national flagship airline Aerolineas Argentinas will be running thrice weekly flights direct from Salta to São Paolo in Brazil.
So far during 2022, we’ve had more guests from Brazil than from any other country: perhaps, like so many travellers, the Brazilians are reluctant to venture too far from home in this uncertain Covid-changed world: and they’re crossing the border for tours in Argentina to take advantage of the blue dollar.
The verdict of our recent guests from Brazil, who we squired around the Salta wine region: “Muito bom!” My wife Alicia, who is learning Portuguese, tells me they were happy…
In the next few months, Salta’s provincial government is also hoping to restore direct flights to Lima and Panama, international connections which proved highly successful before the pandemic. And direct flights to Bariloche are starting up for the winter ski season in Argentina. Bariloche is also receiving direct flights from São Paolo twice a week, also with Aerolineas Argentinas.
In my home city of Salta, in the far north of the country close to the borders with Bolivia and Chile, though Aerolineas Argentinas dominates, budget airlines like Flybondi and Jetsmart run daily flights to Buenos Aires.
Jetsmart also runs three flights a week to the Mendoza wine region and Neuquen, the gateway to tours of Patagonia, and twice weekly to the world famous waterfalls of Iguazu.
Keep an eye on my blog if you’re planning holidays in Argentina, and I’ll keep you posted on developments. In the meantime, for all flights in and out and within Argentina check out AA2000.