MIAMI – IATA Regional Vice President Peter Cerda asserted that Argentina’s actions on its aviation services are the opposite of the rest of the world and that such erratic management could have unintended repercussions. 

Airlines are reportedly considering resuming service to Argentina after the government decided to limit the number of passengers through international airports to 600 per day, ostensibly to combat the Delta coronavirus strain. The move has resulted in numerous flights being denied landing privileges.

According to Merco Press, Cerda advocated that limits be lifted which reduced the daily number of international flying passengers to 600 from 2000, by an order expiring on 9 July. Carriers may “choose to quit the Argentine market,” he warned because they have been compelled to change their flight itineraries in response to local officials’ initiatives while “the world is opening up” and “learning to live with Covid.” 

In a radio interview, Cerda stated that there was no clarity “on what will happen after July 9,” but he added that “nowhere else in the world do flights need to be postponed every 15 days.” 

IATA Regional Vice President Peter Cerda. Photo: IATA

Airlines May “Choose to Quit the Argentine Market”

“They are attempting to manage the pandemic, which is understandable,” Cerda explained. However, “what they control are the passengers,” he noted. “These decisions have put airlines in the heart of a battle from which they cannot escape. Putting a cap in place will not help the situation and will disadvantage passengers who need to return to the country. On a logistical level, this quota is quite tough. The airline must ready to relocate passengers.”

“That shift without any sort of coordination impacts us all,” he added, warning that in the face of such complexity, airlines may “choose to quit the Argentine market,” because “Argentina is the only country with a passenger per day flight limitation.”

“We dropped from having 9 to 2 flights each day,” said the airline industry leader, adding, “We cannot work this way. Argentina is putting in place a world-first measure.” 

Cerda also stated that he planned to discuss the matter with Cabinet Secretary Santiago Cafiero. “He is the perfect person to handle this problem that the air system is experiencing, as well as the residents who are outside the country,” Cerda said after a meeting between the two was canceled on Thursday. 

“Leaving a market takes 30 minutes, but flying again in a different market takes years.” Cerda insisted that the government change the rules of the game.

Featured image: Aerolineas Argentinas Boeing 737 MAX. Photo: John Santoro/Airways