A new report probing the state of aviation in Argentina has concluded that the country has lost connections to as many 18 international destinations over the last two years.
The study, released by the Buenos Aires City government, found that 17 fewer airlines are now operating in the capital compared to before the coronavirus pandemic, underlining the dramatic shift that has occurred in recent years.
The report was carried out by a marketing arm of City Hall's tourism body and is based on information provided by Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, the country’s largest airport operator.
According to the data, there were 50 percent fewer international flights (425 in tota) in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2019 (856 flights), prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of airlines has dropped dramatically too, with 29 different companies offering international flights from Ezeiza International Airport and Aeroparque Jorge Newbury over the same four-month period. That’s in stark contrast to three years previous, when 42 airlines provided regular flights to and from Argentina.
Detailing the losses, the report found that 13 airlines have ceased operations in Argentina between those two dates, while only three aviation companies – Aerolíneas Argentinas, Flybondi and Jetsmart – now offer domestic flights, compared to seven in the pre-pandemic era.
Underlining its concerns, the Buenos Aires Tourism Board pointed out that Buenos Aires (with flights from Aeroparque, Ezeiza and El Palomar) was connected with 49 foreign cities before the pandemic in 2019 , while in the first four months of 2022 connectivity reached only 32 destinations.
Air links have been lost with a host of cities, namely Auckland, Belo Horizonte, Cabo Frio, Caracas, Doha, Dubai, Fortaleza, João Pessoa, Los Angeles, Maceió, Manaus, Natal, Navegantes, Porto Seguro, Quito and Recife.
In recent days, international tourism has been at the centre of political debate after Economy Minister Silvina Batakis declared that the right to travel abroad “clashes with the right to jobs." The comment generated strong criticism from travel companies and agencies, as well as various representatives from the sector.