The Corona crisis is hitting Flybondi. Meanwhile, the home airport Buenos Aires-El Palomar is threatened with closure. But the small budget airline from Argentina remains optimistic.
The Argentine low-cost airline Flybondi will only operate three of its five aircraft this year. Initially, the fleet of five Boeing 737-800 was supposed to be supplemented by a further one by the end of the year. But because of the drop in passenger numbers caused by the Corona crisis, the airline is postponing the takeover of four ordered aircraft.
Meanwhile, two Boeing 737 have been returned to their lessor, reports Aeroin. While Flybondi is operating with only half as many aircraft as planned for this year, the company is currently negotiating new employment contracts with its workforce. According to Argentinean legislation, the airline must not order layoffs until September.
Worries about home airport
In order to keep losses small in the midst of the Corona crisis, Flybondi is planning wage cuts. Meanwhile, further losses are threatening at the home airport El Palomar. The military airfield, located near the capital Buenos Aires, has also been used for commercial flights since 2018.
According to local media, the Argentine government is considering closing El Palomar. The only alternative Flybondi would have is to switch to Buenos Aires’ more expensive main airport Eizeza for the time being. Only at a later date will construction work be completed on Buenos Aires’ city airport Jorge Newberry, which Flybondi would prefer as his new home.
«More routes than before the pandemic»
Despite the many uncertainties surrounding Corona and it’s home base, Flybondi’s management remains confident. Furthermore, all routes planned for this year are to be flown, Aeroin reports further. Especially important for the airline are the connections to Brazil, such as to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and the holiday stronghold Florianópolis.
Flybondi is already planning to expand again next year. “It is clear to us that we are working towards flying more routes in 2021 than before the [Covid 19 pandemic],» says Flybondi CEO Maurício Sana.