On Monday, Argentina banned all commercial flight ticket sales until September, prompting an industry outcry that the new measure will put too much strain on airlines and airports, according to Reuters. The country already closed its borders back in March.
The ban, officially Resolution 144/2020 (Passenger Transport Authorization), will include the sale and purchase of commercial flights to, from or within Argentina. Reuters adds that many countries in South America, including Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, have banned all commercial flights for the time being, but none have extended their timeline as far out as September. The United States, Brazil and Canada have imposed restrictions, but not outright bans.
Among the airlines that could be most affected, the report says, is LATAM Airlines Group, which has a significant operation in Argentina and has been seeking help from multiple governments. Argentina’s largest carrier, Aerolineas Argentinas, is state-owned and could survive as long as the government is willing to subsidize it. Smaller, ultra-low-cost carrier, like FlyBondi, SkyAirlines and JETSmart, could also suffer.
The Airports Council International – Latin America and Caribbean (ACI-LAC), the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are calling on Argentine authorities to consider “the imminent and substantial risks represented by Resolution 144/2020.” In a statement, the groups said, “This decision directly affects the future of the entire commercial aviation value chain in Argentina and the region, including domestic and international airlines, tourism and related sectors, putting at risk thousands of jobs.”
The travel and tourism sector contributes 10 percent to Argentina’s GDP and supports 9.4 percent of the jobs in the country, (around two million people), according to studies by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).