BUENOS AIRES — Argentina is getting its own budget airline, with seats priced cheaper than those on local buses.
According to Lonely Planet, FlyBondi, the country’s first budget airline, is expected to launch domestic flights starting in September. Currently, state-run Aerolineas Argentina dominates the country’s aviation market, and up until now, high operating costs and state-mandated minimum prices have made domestic air travel an impossible venture.
The Argentine government says plans for the new airline have been made to boost its slumping economy. Last year, President Mauricio Macri said Argentina would open up 135 new airline routes and that foreign tourists would be refunded a 21% value-added tax on hotel costs.
However, there’s still one major hurdle to overcome before celebrations begin: Argentina requires its pilots to be Argentines, which could lead to difficulties in staffing.
But if successfully launched, FlyBondi will undoubtedly make it easier to travel around the country. It will offer seats onboard leased Boeing 737s that cost less than lie-flat bed prices on bus journeys that span the same distance. For example, a one-way bus ticket with a lie-flat bed between Buenos Aires and Mendoza – a journey that takes 16 hours – costs about US$100. Alternatively, a seat onboard FlyBondi will start at approximately $78 each way for the two-hour flight.