United States eliminates Aerolineas Argentinas’ request to file flight schedules

On 25 August, the US Department of Transportation (DoT) issued a resolution eliminating the requirement that Aerolíneas Argentinas submit for approval its flight schedules to that country 30 days in advance, in what represented one of the last pandemic operational delays.

This removes a bureaucratic step that had been imposed by the United States in May 2021 in response to a similar controversial measure that Argentina’s National Civil Aviation Administration put in place as part of the general restrictions the nation state maintained on borders to contain the effects of the pandemic.

At the time, Argentina was limiting the number of passengers per day that could enter the country through Ezeiza airport, the only airport authorized until then for international flights, which obviously resulted in a reduction of frequencies. The DoT had detected that the drop in the number of flights authorized for Aerolíneas Argentinas between February and April had gone from 43% to 18%, while US airlines had not obtained permission for a similar recovery.

So too all airlines (and passengers) were subject to a tedious international flight clearance process that caused much uncertainty.

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«More than a year has passed since our actions were taken, and while some entry limitations remain in place as a result of the pandemic, they are no longer being applied in a manner discriminatory to US air carriers vis-à-vis Argentine carriers, » the DoT said in its ruling. «As a result, equal access to the market once again exists,» they concluded.

ANAC Argentina celebrated the US decision on its Twitter account, stating that «this measure facilitates operations to and from the United States and is the result of negotiations held by ANAC in the framework of the reactivation of post-pandemic air transport».

The market between Argentina and the United States is currently covered in this way:

  • Aerolineas Argentinas: nine weekly flights between Buenos Aires/EZE and Miami; and three weekly flights between Buenos Aires and New York/JFK.
  • American Airlines: fourteen weekly flights between Miami and Buenos Aires; seven weekly flights between New York/JFK and Buenos Aires/EZE; and three weekly flights between Dallas/Fort Worth and Buenos Aires/EZE.
  • Delta Air Lines: five weekly flights between Atlanta and Buenos Aires/EZE.
  • United Airlines: seven weekly flights between Houston-IAH and Buenos Aires/EZE.

This represents a total weekly capacity of 25,330 seats, 42% less than in August 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic.

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