|Founded||14 May 1949|
|Commenced operations||7 December 1950|
|Frequent-flyer program||Aerolíneas Plus|
|Airport lounge||Salón Cóndor|
|Company slogan||Alta en el cielo
(English: Up high in the sky)
|Parent company||Argentine Government (99.4%)|
|Headquarters||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|Revenue||US$1,174.5 million (FY 2010) (incl. all subsidiaries)|
|Net income||US$486 million (FY 2010) (incl. all subsidiaries)|
Aerolíneas Argentinas (English: Argentine Airlines), formally Aerolíneas Argentinas S.A., is Argentina's largest airline and serves as the country's flag carrier. Owned in its majority by the Argentine Government, the airline is headquartered in the Torre Bouchard, located in San Nicolás, Buenos Aires.
Aerolíneas Argentinas Cargo, domestic airline Austral Líneas Aéreas, ramp service provider Aerohandling, cargo division JetPaq S.A., and tourism operator Optar S.A. are listed as Aerolíneas Argentinas subsidiaries. The airline and its subsidiaries operates from two hubs, both located in Buenos Aires. Operations of domestic and regional flights by the smaller aircraft types in the fleet are concentrated at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, which also serves as its operating base, whereas Ministro Pistarini International Airport is mainly used for international services, although some regional and few domestic services are operated as well. The company provides free-of-charge transportation to those passengers that need to change from one airport to the other.
The carrier became the 18th SkyTeam member in late August 2012 .
The history of the airline can be traced back to 1929, when Compagnie Générale Aéropostale (Aéropostale) started airmail operations between Buenos Aires and Asunción, and it later expanded its network to cities located in the Patagonia. Many Frenchmen pilots flew for this company in its beginnings, with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry being among them. Argentine personnel occupied vacant posts left by the Frenchmen as they gradually withdrew from the airline, and shortly after Aéropostale's Argentine subsidiary Aeroposta Argentina was formed. In 1947 this airline stepped into a mixed-stock company, in which the Government had a 20% stake and private investors held the balance.
As Aeroposta expanded its network southwards and incorporated the Douglas DC-3 into its fleet, other three mixed-stock companies were present at that time: ALFA (Aviación del Litoral Fluvial Argentino) mainly operated flying boats northwards to the Mesopotamia, FAMA (Flota Aérea Mercante Argentina) operated overseas services with DC-4s as its mainstay equipment, and ZONDA (Zonas Oeste y Norte de Aerolíneas Argentinas) was mainly concerned with operations in the northwest region. As these carriers started being unprofitable, all of them were amalgamated into a single state-owned company on 14 May 1949. The state holding was officially rebranded as Aerolíneas Argentinas-Empresa del Estado, despite it was commonly known as Aerolíneas Argentinas, or simply Aerolíneas. The four companies comprising the state holding ceased operations on 31 December 1949.
Aerolíneas Argentinas started operations on its own on 7 December 1950. In February 1950 , almost ten months prior to the start of operations, five new Convairs were already acquired. Key to the growth of the airline in the early years were Alfonso Aliaga García, and Dirk Wessel Van Layden a former pilot of the French carrier Aéropostale, who was influential in raising flying standards.
The DC-3 proved an invaluable asset for Aerolíneas Argentinas as for many other airlines worldwide. It enabled the company to fly to domestic destinations that had hitherto been unreachable, and to keep flying the FAMA international network. As early as 1950 the Douglas DC-6 was added to the fleet, and was used to launch a weekly Buenos AiresRio de JaneiroNatalDakarLisbonParisFrankfurt flight in late 1950. Soon afterwards, Douglas DC-4s joined the fleet and services were inaugurated to Santiago de Chile, Lima, Santa Cruz, and São Paulo. By March 1953 , the airline had a route network that was 35,000 miles (56,000 km) long, flown with DC-3s, DC-4s, DC-6s, Convair-Liner 240s and Short Sandringhams.
The Comet had begun commercial jet services in the 1950s, and the carrier once again set the pace among the South American airlines, when Aerolíneas' president A. Cdre. Juan José Güiraldes persuaded Argentina's President Arturo Frondizi to buy six of them, becoming the first overseas airline in ordering the type. Being the first jetliner flown by Aerolíneas and named Las Tres Marías, the first of them landed at Ezeiza Airport on 2 March 1959. With these jets, Aerolíneas Argentinas kept a steady growth during the 1960s, opening routes to London, Paris, Rome, and Madrid. The 1960s also saw the incorporation of the Avro 748 short-haul turboprop airliner, that had its maiden flight with the company on 15 February 1962 between Buenos Aires and Punta del Este; Aerolíneas was actually the launch customer for this type of aircraft. Likewise, the Caravelle first flew for the carrier on the Buenos AiresSantiago de Chile route on 1 April 1962.
During the 1970s, the fleet saw the arrival of three aircraft types from Boeing: the 727s, the 737s, and the 747s. The incorporation of the Fokker F-28 into the fleet in the mid-1970s prompted the withdrawal of the last HS-748s, making the company to be the first South American airline in operating an all-jet aircraft park. Frankfurt, Madrid and Rome became the first destinations to be served with the brand new 747s, starting January 1977 .
The airline was assigned by law the monopoly of international operations from Argentina in 1971. This meant no other Argentine airline was able to operate international flights, let alone the already created Austral. The carrier therefore became the flag carrier of the country. The same law also assigned Aerolíneas Argentinas a 50% of the domestic market share.
During the Falklands War in 1982, and for a short period later as well, the company was banned from flying through British airspace. There used to be a flight from London-Gatwick to Argentina's capital; however, because of the ban passengers bound to Argentina had to change planes at Madrid-Barajas.
Late in 1980 a second-hand Boeing 747SP was acquired from Braniff for US$51,000,000 ($142,103,796 in 2013). Also in 1980, upon the acquisition of Austral by the Argentine government, both Aerolíneas Argentinas and Austral became government-owned, to the extent that some routes were simultaneously operated, even using similar equipment.
However, there existed a state of continuous tension over salary differences between both companies that eventually led the Aerolíneas Argentinas' pilots to a three-week-long strike that started on 1 July 1986. During this strike, the government leased pilots from the Argentine Air Force to operate some aircraft. Other companies took advantage from this situation and gained the market share Aerolíneas Argentinas lost, as domestic routes were operated by Austral, LADE and LAPA, and the government temporarily authorised foreign carriers to exploit the company's international routes.
The privatisation of the company started being considered under the government of Raúl Alfonsín, when SAS was proposed to become a 40% shareholder of the state company. This was firmly resisted by the Peronist opposition. On 27 December 1989 the next government authorised the privatisation of the airline. On 21 November 1990 a consortium led by Iberia and Austral's owner Cielos del Sur S.A. acquired a 85% stake in Aerolíneas Argentinas, which became the first major Argentine company to be privatised during the first presidence of Carlos Menem. Paradoxically, one of the first actions taken by the new Peronist government was to privatise the carrier, after airily opposing to the privatisation propositions of its predecessor. Despite the carrier being regarded as overstaffed and bureaucratic, it was debt-free at that time, having an average profitability of US$90 million a year. The carrier actually had US$719,000,000 ($1,331,645,906 in 2013) in revenues on the year prior to privatisation. It was not until 2009 that this privatisation process would be ruled as illegal.
Austral's owner Cielos del Sur S.A. was sold to Iberia in March 1991 Aerolíneas Argentinas and Austral never merged throughout the private era, and remained as separate companies with the same shareholder. Iberia subsequently boosted its stake in the airline to 85% in April 1994 after a US$500,000,000 ($774,472,384 in 2013) cash injection. Out of the remaining 15%, the Argentine Government held the 5% stake it was initially assigned, while 10% belonged to the employees. Furthermore, at this stage the Argentine Government resigned to the voting privilege it had in the Directory of the airline., further increasing the Spanish flag's stake in the Argentine air market.
|Assets (without routes, brand, etc., US$ mil.)||636-776||?|
|Annual Balance (US$ mil.)||18||390|
|Debt (US$ mil.)||0||900|
|Number of employees||10,372||6,734|
Iberia was afterwards obliged by the European Commission to cut its stake in Aerolíneas Argentinas as a condition for receiving state aid. It thence reduced its participation to 20%, transferring the remaining 65% to Interinvest/Andes holding, a consortium comprising the Spanish Government holding company (SEPI) the actual owner of Iberia before it was privatised in 2001 and banks Merrill Lynch and Bankers Trust, among others. In July 1997 Iberia cut again its stake in Aerolíneas Argentinas from 20% to 10%, while American Airlines's parent company AMR acquired a 10% stake of Aerolineas Argentinas/Austral's major stockholder Interinvest, equivalent to a participation of 8.5% in both Argentine companies, with the commitment of finding investors for Aerolíneas Argentinas. AMR's 8.5% operation was finally cleared by the United States Department of Justice in early July 1998. By that time, the Argentine Government still owned a 5% stake in Aerolíneas Argentinas. Less than two years later AMR stepped aside, as it made no offers for Aerolíneas Argentinas. Plans for the employees to take an 85% stake in 2000 never materialised.
Allegations of corruption were made on the basis of the price paid by Iberia and the Spanish firm's ulterior conduct (including some convoluted lease-back operations), with the airline paying the price for its own purchase with its assets. Subsequent management by American Airlines and SEPI drove Aerolíneas Argentinas into an almost terminal crisis in 2001.
By the late 1990s, the airline was near bankruptcy; losses in 1999 were around US$240 million. The Spanish Government tried to sell its controlling share to American Airlines, but the offer was declined.
In June 2001 and went into administration; the salaries were paid by the Argentine Government, instead of using money coming from the SEPI. The payment of salaries for the upcoming months were suspended, as the mechanics union refused to accept the reorganisation plan raised by the SEPI to keep the company afloat. Most of the international flights were halted. After this, most of the fleet was grounded, and only 30% and 10% of domestic and international flights, respectively, were operating. The crisis deepened when the daily flight to Madrid, and also the last connection with Europe, was also disrupted., the aftermath began after the airline filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors,
Marsans group acquired a 92% stake through its subsidiary Air Comet from the SEPI in late 2001, and committed to inject US$50 million capital with the intention of resuming short as well as longhaul services. The resumption of international flights started in early November 2001 .
After teetering on the brink of closure during most of 2001, combined with the adverse effects of the September 11 attacks on the airline industry and December 2001, Aerolíneas Argentinas was forced to close down international services for a few days during early 2002. However, Argentina's financial meltdownUS$50,000,000 ($63,820,537 in 2013) fresh capital was provided and the airline resumed services almost immediately. The private era's first profits were announced later that year.
In May 2008 Following this agreement, the Argentine Government took the airline back into state control in July 2008 after acquiring 99.4% of the stake for an undisclosed price; the remaining 0.6% continued being owned by the company's employees. The Act renationalising Aerolíneas Argentinas and its subsidiary Austral Líneas Aéreas was passed by the Chamber of Deputies in August 2008, and became law in September 2008 following the 46-21 vote in the Argentine Senate., an agreement between the Argentine government and Grupo Marsans in which the latter would decrease its participation in the airline to 35% was announced; in reducing their holding, Marsans would make room for new private investors as well as for the government of Argentina to increase its stake in the airline from 5% to 20%.
There were several disagreements regarding the deal between the government and Grupo Marsans; they ended in a vote by both the lower and the upper houses of the Argentine congress in support of taking over the company and its subsidiaries, when the Chamber of Deputies voted 152-84 in favor of the expropriation, and the Senate approved the bill by a 42-20 vote.
In June 2010 The new logo is a combination of light blue and grey colours. Likewise, the previous eurowhite livery is replaced with a combination of the Argentine flag colours plus grey. Subsidiary airline Austral also adopted this new livery, additionally including a red cheatline., Aerolíneas Argentinas revamped its image to give the airline a more modern appearance.
With the mentoring of Delta Air Lines, the company signed an agreement to begin the process of joining SkyTeam in late November 2010 . It became the first South American and the second Latin American carrier in joining the alliance in August 2012 , as well as its 18th overall member.
In March 2011 In September that year, the airline emerged from the reorganisation proceedings it had filed in 2001. In late November 2011 , the government announced an austerity plan for the company in order to reduce the deficit it has been incurring since being taken over from Marsans; the plan includes the revision of unprofitable routes, the reduction of pilot/aircraft pay rates, and the abandonment of obsolete equipment, among others., the different unions that affiliate the airline staff demonstrated over concerns the government was looking for local private investors to participate in ownership of the company.
Aerolíneas Argentinas began modernising its fleet in 2009; early this year, the airline agreed to lease ten Boeing 737-700s and to purchase two more of these aircraft that would act as a replacement for the ageing Boeing 737-200s and MD-80s. Along with the first leased ones, the two brand new aircraft which became the first ones acquired by the company in 17 years were incorporated into the fleet in mid-2009. It was announced in October the same year that the carrier was looking for about six Boeing 737-800 aircraft, both to complement the 12 Boeing 737-700s and to replace the ageing Boeing 737-500s. In late November 2010 , the airline agreed to lease a further ten aircraft of the same model from ILFC, which started being delivered in April 2011.
As of November 2012[update], the airline is considering both the Airbus A350-900 and the Boeing 787-9 as replacement aircraft for the long-haul fleet. The incorporation of leased Airbus A330-200s in 2013 for serving routes to Bogotá, Cancún, Caracas and Miami is also planned, whereas an increased maximum takeoff weight version of the same type is also being considered to partly replace the A340 aircraft park by 2016. There are also plans for the incorporation of additional Boeing 737-800s: in April 2013 , Air Lease Corporation announced the lease of six more of these aircraft to the company, with deliveries starting in November 2014 .
Following is a table providing the composition of Aerolíneas Argentinas' fleet, as of April 2013[update]. Information concerning seat configuration is accurate for most of the fleet; nevertheless, on some equipment this information differs from the one shown below.
As of April 2013[update], the fleet age is 11.5 years.
Aerolíneas Argentinas has also operated the following aircraft all through its history:
According to the Aviation Safety Network database, the last accident involving a company's aircraft that yielded fatalities was in 1970, as of October 2011[update]; Aviation Safety Network records 43 accidents or incidents for Aerolíneas Argentinas since it started operations in 1950. The company ranks among the safest airlines in the world.
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