MIAMI— American Airlines (AA) has stopped selling tickets in Argentine pesos transactions after the imposition of more limits to foreign companies to repatriate their income overseas.
Since 2011, Argentina has experienced a severe and strict currency exchange control ordered by the government led by Cristina Kirchner, similar to that applied in Venezuela by the leftist regime of Hugo Chavez in 2003. In both cases, this situation led to the establishment of a parallel market with a gap between the official rate and black market rate of over 50% in the case of Argentina and over 6600% in the case of Venezuela, with devastating consequences to both economies.
American Airlines spokeswoman Martha Thomas said last Wednesday that the carrier would try to resolve the issue with the new government of President Mauricio Macri, elected last November 22nd. Macri who will take office on December 10, campaigned on promises to recover the economy in Argentina, including the elimination of such exchange controls.
The dispute in Argentina is parallel to the one existing in Venezuela. According to IATA, international airlines serving the Latin American country have trapped over $3.7 billion dollars as the Venezuelan government led by President Nicolas Maduro has not cleared the transactions to repatriate the income generated by the selling of tickets and cargo space. As a consequence, several carriers, including American Airlines, have opted to cut frequencies to Venezuela, while others, such as Alitalia and Air Canada, have put their service to Caracas to an end.
To date, American Airlines flies to Buenos Aires from New York, Miami and Dallas-Fort Worth, offering up to 27 flights a week. However, Argentine travelers will have now to use foreign credit cards or other foreign payment method to purchase tickets from AA.