Home » Argentina Prohibits LATAM Brasil Operating Flights to The Falkland Islands
Business Global News News South America Travel

Argentina Prohibits LATAM Brasil Operating Flights to The Falkland Islands

Past week, the Argentinian government revoked the decree that allowed LATAM Brasil to operate flights between São Paulo, Córdoba, and the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas. The Brazilian carrier first launched the route in 2019, although due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was forced to pause it, with the intention of retaking it at some point. Now, it will not happen.

The Falklands lose connectivity

In a decree published this week, the Argentinian government announced that it is crucial to the air connectivity of the Falkland Islands to have scheduled passenger flights from the “continental Argentinian territory.” Therefore, the government decided to overrule the authorization LATAM Brasil had received in 2019 to operate flights to Mount Pleasant Airport (MPN). This announcement was made the same week of the tenth anniversary of a referendum in which the Falkland Islands decided to be a British Overseas Territory.

As reported by Aviacionline, LATAM Brasil operated the first flight between São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) and the Falkland Islands on November 20, 2019. The Brazilian carrier scheduled one weekly flight to Mount Pleasant on Wednesdays, employing a Boeing 767-300ER, which had a layover in Córdoba. The stop in this Argentinian city varied from week to week; twice it was on the leg from São Paulo to Mount Pleasant and twice on the return leg from Mount Pleasant to São Paulo.

Despite suspending LATAM Brasil’s right to operate this service, the Argentinian government made no reference to which domestic airline could operate scheduled passenger flights to the Malvinas. Nonetheless, as reported by the Argentinian newspaper El Clarín, the government is interested in Aerolíneas Argentinas flying directly from Buenos Aires to Mount Pleasant.

The remaining connectivity

Mount Pleasant only has one scheduled passenger flight each week, according to data from Cirium. This service is not operated by Argentina’s flag carrier Aerolíneas Argentinas. Instead, it is a flight operated by LATAM Chile from Punta Arenas (PUQ).

Each Saturday, the Chilean airline operates a flight onboard an Airbus A320 aircraft with the capacity to carry 174 passengers. This route was resumed in July last year after a 27-month-long pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once a month, the flight stops in Río Gallegos, an Argentinian city.

A tug of war

The people living in the Falklands and the current Argentinian government have been in a years-long dispute regarding air connectivity. In January, the government of the islands released a statement saying that the Alberto Fernández administration was trying to block the LATAM Brasil route. According to the kelpers –as the people in the Falklands are known– the government canceled and delayed several meetings to address the issue. Mark Pollard, a Member of the Legislative Assembly, said in a statement last January,

“The Government of Argentina continues to deny our self-determination, and take every opportunity to enforce sanctions on our people and collectively punish us for legitimately exercising our democratic rights. This latest move is yet another attempt to isolate us from South America.”

He added that the Falkland Islanders will not enter into discussions about a direct flight to Buenos Aires.

Source: Simple Flying