Forbidden to operate international flights by the Argentine government since March 2019, Jorge Newbery Airport, better known as Aeroparque, will again receive routes from countries such as Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Brazil from May 11.
The announcement was made by the Argentine Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) on Monday, 17, by its new director, Paola Tamburelli. Currently, the central airport in Buenos Aires is only allowed to operate flights to Uruguay.
According to ANAC, the change “seeks to promote receptive tourism to our country, generating greater connectivity with the provinces”. President Alberto Fernández, who took over the government at the end of the year, is resuming old strategies abandoned by his predecessor, Mauricio Macri, who sought to open the Argentine market further.
Macri, however, preferred to concentrate international flights at the distant Ezeiza Airport, in addition to opening the old Palermo air base for flights by low cost airlines.
By restricting operations at Aeroparque, the international movement dropped from a peak of almost 350,000 passengers in January 2018 to 19,000 people in June last year, also reflecting the economic crisis in Argentina.
Although Jorge Newbery Airport lacks adequate infrastructure with only 10 boarding bridges and few parking spaces for aircraft, its proximity to downtown Buenos Aires makes it extremely attractive. It is about 6 km away from the “Obelisco”, ground zero of the city – Ezeiza, in turn, is 27 km from that point.
The big question from now on is how ANAC will distribute the disputed slots at the airport. Unlike the previous administration, the Fernández government must honor the state-owned company Aerolíneas Argentinas, the largest airline in the country and which wished to return to use the Aeroparque.
Brazil is the market that should most benefit from the airport’s reopening. Flights to the city of São Paulo, for example, carried over 1.17 million passengers in 2017, the last year without restrictions.
Even before the restriction, Latam and Gol flew to Aeroparque while Azul debuted its flight to Buenos Aires using Ezeiza. Certainly, David Neeleman’s airline will want to fight to operate at the central airport in Buenos Aires.