08/20/2020 - 13:58
The Spanish airline Air Europa has just announced the cancellation of scheduled flights scheduled for September between Madrid and Latin American destinations such as Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia.
However, far from being a withdrawal of the company from the region, the announcement is simply a temporary restructuring of operations , pending developments in the sector.
“Given the uncertainty about the opening of air borders , we decided to operate special flights in September to replace the regular operation we planned. For now, the schedule includes weekly flights between Madrid and Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Medellín and Lima, as well as biweekly services to Asunción del Paraguay and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia ”, explains to Clarín Diego García, regional director for America de la company.
The special flights will depart from Madrid on Fridays, from September 4, and from Buenos Aires on Sundays, from the 6. “ We are calling passenger by passenger to see if they accept the modifications and if they have the immigration conditions that are required for to travel ”, details the executive.
Diego García, regional director for America of Air Europa.
In addition, from September the company will operate the route to San Pedro Sula, in Honduras, adding to those already flying: San Pablo (Brazil), Miami and New York (United States), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) , Guayaquil and Quito (Ecuador) and Montevideo (Uruguay).
“With these special flights that are added to the regular ones, Air Europa is the European company that covers the most destinations between Europe and America ”, summarizes Diego García, highlighting that these routes, when possible, will be joined by those that are eminently touristy, such as Cancun. , Punta Cana, Salvador de Bahía, Recife or Fortaleza.
And he confirms: (before the pandemic) " We were arriving from Europe to 24 destinations in America, and our goal is to keep them all , according to our mission to connect both continents. In addition, in these routes in recent years we have gained a very important participation , largely due to the expansion of the network and the renewal of the fleet: we operate all flights with Boeing 787 Dreamliner versions 8 and 9, none more than three years old ”.
The company operates the routes to America with new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
For the return of regular operations, Garcia highlights, there are two conditions. One is the reopening of air borders and airports, and the other is the opening of migration.
“Today the only countries that citizens and residents can enter are Uruguay and Canada. And Europe can only enter European residents or citizens, passengers with dual citizenship or with work visas or students and families who go with all the permits to settle in a European country ”, he details.
Air Europa flies from Spain to 24 destinations in America.
The situation is the same in America: except in Mexico, you can only enter with student or work visas, although Uruguay has just announced plans to let European tourists enter.
Recovery and protocol
Regarding Argentina, the executive highlights the uncertainty because the resolution that allowed the sale of tickets from September 1 still governs.
"We hope that this DNU will be repealed or another will be promulgated opening borders, and from then on the National Civil Aviation Administration (ANAC) announces the reopening of airports."
And it highlights that the longer reopens are postponed, the more the industry's payback times will be stretched .
“The flights to South America are the longest we have from Europe, and the people who take them decide in the medium or long term, at least six months in advance. Therefore, they are the ones that will take the longest to recover . We believe that if there were a reopening from October or November, in the first quarter of 2021 we would be operating at 50% of the capacity prior to the pandemic , with the possibility of adjusting supply as demand requires it " says Garcia.
And it compares with the situation in Europe, where they resumed domestic flights in Spain on June 22, and inter-European flights on July 1, with 35% of the supply prior to the pandemic and occupations of between 75 and 80 percent.
"Now we have to wait, because many inter-European flights feed on our network in America, and the longer it takes to reactivate this network, the longer it will take for recovery in Europe as well."
Argentina is, according to García, the third most important market for the company in America , after the United States and Brazil and followed by Peru, Uruguay, Colombia, and Paraguay. "These six markets represent 80% of our regional turnover," he says.
Argentina is the third most important market for the company in America after the United States and Brazil, highlights Diego García
Regarding the sanitary protocol , he emphasizes that security is the main protocol of the airline industry, and that for this reason they worked very seriously in the elaboration and application of sanitary protocols: “We worked very hard with the governments, first putting together the protocols, adapting them to each need of each country and training the industry ”.
As part of the on-board service changes, the company removed the paper items - magazines, brochures, etc. -, delivered the food in a bag with the cutlery kit and a bottle of water, and only the food was delivered individually hot , at the time of service, "at a temperature safe against viruses," he explains.
"In addition," he adds, "although most wear their own chinstraps, we offer masks and sanitizing wipes free of charge. He assures that the passengers took the measures very well and that "it is proven that there were no infections on the planes, flying is very safe."