There are still many restrictions on travelling abroad in 2021 and the COVID-19 vaccine presents a way for travellers to potentially avoid expensive quarantines. As the rollout of the vaccine is slow in Argentina, many Argentinians have been travelling to (or looking to travel to) Miami, where the rollout is faster and pop-up vaccination centres are set up on the beach.
With the aim of making the two state airlines more efficient, the merger between Aerolíneas Argentinas SA and Austral Líneas Aéreas Cielos del Sur SA was finalised at the end of 2020, completing the process which began in May. Through this partnership, both companies will unify a series of processes, as well as all areas of maintenance and logistics, to avoid duplicate costs and optimise operations.
Recovery in airlines will be slow, as there is not yet an expected date for the total re-opening of the borders to tourism. Due to the impacts from COVID-19, many airlines have left the country, as seen in June 2020 with LATAM Airlines Group seeking to divest itself of loss-making assets, and announcing that its Argentinian subsidiary, LAN Argentina SA (recently known as LATAM Airlines Argentina), would cease operations indefinitely as a result of local industry conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The departure of LAN Airlines from domestic flights has, however, left an opportunity for other remaining airlines to offer new routes, or have less competition on existing routes – and even opportunities for new airlines to enter the country in the medium term, once tourism has recovered its pre-pandemic levels. Local residents have become accustomed to the existence of a large number of flights and a greater interconnectivity between cities, and this has now been lost.
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