No flights until September: What will happen to the tickets sold and the airlines?
Most companies chose to deliver vouchers for tickets that are open for a period that can be up to two years. Companies in the sector, who already calculate losses in their income for more than USD 3.000 millions and even, they run the risk of canceling their international routes to the country
By Ximena Casas
3 May 2020
The government's decision to prevent airlines from operating and marketing tickets until September surprised companies in the sector, who already calculate losses in their income for more than USD 3.000 millions and even, in the case of some of the international, they run the risk that they stop flying to Argentina.
The airlines assure that the measure - which was made official through two resolutions of the National Civil Aviation Agency (Anac)- was not consulted. And some of them had already marketed domestic flights. Through the local and international chambers that group them, they asked the government to reverse the measure..
The situation of the passengers
What about consumers who bought tickets for flights that were suspended under the pandemic measures? Each company has its cancellation policies, but overall, most chose to deliver vouchers for tickets that are open for a period that can be up to two years.
Each company has its cancellation policies, but overall, most chose to deliver vouchers for tickets that are open for a period that can be up to two years
To make claims, there are channels enabled in the Tourist Office of the City and in the Ministry of Tourism, where the level of consultations has been decreasing in recent weeks. But there is still no official resolution on what consumers who were affected by flight suspensions from the coronavirus can demand.. As they advanced to Infobae, there may be a joint ANAC resolution (for air tickets), the Ministry of Tourism (by travel agencies) and Consumer Advocacy (for hotels and other services), but it could only be applied when the restrictions end.
"Nothing is being sold. Companies could bet on selling at a proportional value to travel from here to two years with the option to reschedule several times. If you stop selling, something is reactivating and each company is handling it responsibly ”, an industry source told Infobae.
ANAC's argument is that flights are already suspended by the Government DNU and that what is prohibited is the sale of flight tickets until September 1 to protect stranded Argentines who are contacted by companies that offer to repatriate them knowing that they cannot operate. "At once, we understand that companies need income. That is why they are allowed to sell flights after the date 31 of August, when we hope everyone is back. The object is the balance between protecting vulnerable users ”, explicó Paola Tamburelli, president of ANAC, on his Twitter account.
For the companies, this justification is not related to the suspension of domestic flights. "The September date is arbitrary, we do not see it in another country or in any other industry. The future sale was an air for companies to finance themselves. The sale ban should be aligned with the end of quarantine. It will be difficult to enable before September when you did not have time to sell ", Gonzalo Pérez Corral pointed out, director General de la lowcost JetSmart. And he stressed that the measure greatly affects the provinces.
The sale ban should be aligned with the end of quarantine. It will be difficult to enable before September when you did not have time to sell
"Smashes any revival of tourism. In Bariloche they expected some tourists to arrive in August and in Misiones they had put together a plan for future purchases ”, he added. With everything, clarified that the company landed in Argentina as a long-term plan and they hope to "pass the storm".
From the International Air Transport Association (THERE IT IS), which groups 290 companies around the world, They said that Argentina is the only country in the region that suspended flights until September and estimated that the losses for the sector if it starts operating in May may be USD 2.272 millions, but what if the restrictions go until September, that figure will increase to more than USD 3.000 millions.
"There is no other country that has banned the sale of tickets until September. The rest of the countries speak of May and June. We hope that Argentina will set more comparable dates to the rest of the world and that they will be adjusted depending on the scientific studies on the risks.. But in this moment, Argentina is the only country that spent the month of July ”, Peter Cerdá detailed, IATA Regional Vice President of the Americas during a videoconference with journalists from the region.
"This in the case that the airlines are not affected and continue to fly which will not be the case if they take them to until September; there are companies that are going to cancel ”, the executive warned. Until now, the only one that announced that it will cancel flights to Argentina was Air New Zealand, which made it official that it will not resume operations on the Auckland-Buenos Aires route. "Argentina has been a challenge before the pandemic and we do not expect this market to recover quickly", explained in a statement.
From Flybondi they assured that the situation is very complex. The company had canceled its operation until May and had already sold some flights. After the new measures, you are offering in exchange a voucher valid for one year to any destination and transferable.
In the last weeks, The company reached an agreement with its employees for a cut in wages ranging from 15% on the lowest wages up 50% in executive positions.
ANAC activated a working group with companies with the name COVID-19, but until now they only had an informative meeting.. Company sources pointed out that it will be necessary to implement a specific aid package for the sector. "There is nothing more onerous than a plane on the ground that cannot fly", concluded.