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Norwegian expands fleet in Argentina

Norwegian Argentina flew 9,000 passengers during its first 15 days. Now a second plane has arrived in the capital.

A Boeing 737-800 relieved from Norwegian’s operations at Stockholm Arlanda Airport has arrived in Argentina. The empty ‘ferry flight’ saw the aircraft with registration LV-IQZ and flight number NAA1A go to Buenos Aires via Gran Canaria and Natal in Brazil.

The plane, now named Santiago Ramón y Cajal, arrived at Buenos Aires Ministro Pastarani International Airport late in the afternoon on Saturday after being in the air for almost 18 hours.

After its arrival, Norwegian Air Argentina announced it had expanded from one aircraft to two, and that another three aircraft are on their way.

Eventually, LV-HOQ, LV-ITK and LV-ISQ will also fly south to Argentina. These planes have had Carl Nielsen, Benito Pérez Galdós and Bobby Moore on their tails, which will now be deployed on six Argentinian domestic routes.

Tricky market
Norwegian Air Argentina debuted on October 16, and so far the company has made do with one aircraft performing two daily rotations to Córdoba as well as a daily route to Mendoza. Before long, the airline will also begin flights to Iguazu, Bariloche, Neuquén and Salta.

According to Argentina’s aviation authorities, Norwegian Air Argentina was in the air for 90 flights in October carrying a total of about 9,000 passengers.

Occupancy has been reported of 56%, which in principle is not bad for the first 14 days of two new routes from a brand new operator, assesses.

Profits will be harder to come by, however. The distance between Buenos Aires and Córdoba is 653 kilometres, about the same as Copenhagen to Frankfurt.

Ticket sales for this route have started with fares set at 699 Argentine pesos (€17.50) for a return ticket including taxes and fees.

The low-cost competitor Flybondi, which operates five Boeing 737-800s, has been active in the market since the end of January. Stats show an occupancy of 65% in October and 107,000 passengers carried, suggesting that it is a difficult market Norwegian has chosen to move into.

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