More than 30 flights of the airline Flybondi were canceled or had to be rescheduled on Wednesday, as a result of having to leave two of its 12 planes grounded because they did not have the dollars to pay suppliers.
The financial obstacle to the company, in the context of the trap established by the Government, had been denounced by Flybondi on Tuesday and was confirmed on Wednesday by the Secretary of Commerce, Matías Tombolini.
With two fewer planes to operate (and another two in maintenance abroad), the "low cost" airline yesterdayscheduled 22 flights and rescheduled the schedules of another 10.
That was not all: at nightfall on Wednesday, a measure of force in the metropolitan Airport, by the personnel of the state company Intercargo, generated additional delays also from its competitor JetSmart.
Flybondi, whose majority shareholder is the US investment fund Cartesian, had announced on Tuesday that two of its planes were going to be grounded for non-payment to the "lessors" (owners of the planes, who in turn rent them to airlines), as well as other services such as maintenance abroad of two other aircraft.
That delay, the company added, was due to the fact that the Government did not authorize the purchase of dollars at the official price through the SIRA system, at the official price, to the Central Bank. The administration of the SIRA reports to Secretary Tombolini.
On Wednesday, on Twitter, the official engaged in a discussion with Patricia Bullrich as a result of this issue and wrote that "a working table was formed between the Secretariat of Commerce, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Tourism, AFIP, Central Bank and ANAC and several meetings were held with the company to analyze the currency transfer product of the normal volume of its operations. "
According to Tombolini, Flybondi said that for operating lease (leasing) and other services "required 11 million dollars in two months," but that Commerce objected to the amount requested. According to Tombolini, Flybondi accepted that objection and charged the SIRA order again "for 6.2 million dollars for two months."
Tombolini went further: he said that Flybondi "some time ago increased its fleet and wants to grow again (a sign that the country is improving)" and that "we support its growth." But, he added, "it must do it with its own financing, something that (Flybondi) did not accept."
What does "self-financing" mean? That companies must get payments financed in dollars from abroad for at least six months, or even longer. This is what has been happening, for example, with automotive terminals, which are being authorized access to dollars to pay for the importation of vehicles in installments ranging from 195 to 210 days.
From Flybondi they responded to Tombolini that "the airline is still waiting for the rest of the approvals to be able to normalize its operation."
Regarding the plan to incorporate more aircraft, up to a fleet of 20, according to Flybondi "it was presented numerous times to different authorities of the National Government and was always well received. It had never been proposed by the authorities, let alone formally, to stop a plan of such magnitude due to the currency situation. 90% of Flybondi's flight network are domestic and we are one of the few airlines that are betting on this market".