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Subsidies to Aerolineas Argentinas cost the State US $ 669 million in 2021, the highest figure in eight years

In the midst of the controversy over the Government’s decision to reinstate the minimum airfares for domestic flights, the cost of subsidizing Argentinian airlines it remains high over the years, even having had reduced activity due to the pandemic. This 2021 represented $ 63,551 million, which taken at an average official wholesale dollar of $ 95 is equivalent to US $ 669 million, that is, US $ 1.85 million per day as of December 26. It is the highest figure since 2013, in the second term of Cristina Kirchner.

The data comes from the official portal Open Budget, which shows the annual cost of the main State programs and places Aerolineas Argentinas within the category “Capital Contributions to non-financial public companies”, along with the rest of the companies that the Nation assists.

Initially it was expected that the transfers from the State to the flag carrier for financial assistance would be around $ 55,685 million, but the item increased by more than 10% over the course of the year and to date reaches $ 63,551 million, about $ 176.5 million per day.

Taking the average value of the dollar of $ 95.03 that can be calculated following the statistical reports of the Central Bank, they represent about US $ 669 million which, measured every 24 hours is US $ 1.85 million.

An Aerolineas Argentinas plane. Subsidizing it costs US $ 669 million per year.

In a year of greater air activity than the pandemic 2020, where operations were reduced almost entirely to medical flights to bring vaccines from abroad, the expense was higher, since then $ 45,076 million were spent in 12 months, US $ 638 million at an average dollar of $ 70.36 according to data from the Central Bank.

It was also a high expense compared to the 2019 numbers, where commercial air activity developed normally. While still in the presidency of Mauricio Macri, that year before Covid US $ 490 million were allocated in subsidies, 36% less than in 2021. That was the year with the highest expenditure in the management of Cambiemos, which in 2018 had disbursed US $ 284 million, in 2017 it had reached a floor of US $ 181 million and in 2016 it had closed financial assistance to Aerolineas Argentinas for US $ 304 million.

The deficit of the national airline, however, comes from before. And according to specialists it is due to three main factors: a large and expensive structure, low productivity of personnel and aircraft, and insufficient rates. Thus, he accumulated deficits to meet current expenses and even took on debts that he later had to renegotiate.

Cristina’s record in 2012

Just as it is well above the cost in times of macrismo, spending is far from reaching the record for the second term of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. In 2012, for example, Aerolineas Argentinas was subsidized for US $ 904 million, and in 2013 for US $ 704 million, as reported then by the website Chequeado.

That was the last figure to exceed 2021, which became the highest number in the last eight years when it comes to transfers to the company. In 2014 Y 2015.In the last years of Christianity in power, US $ 619 million and US $ 553 million had been transferred.

The executive management of Aerolineas Argentinas is in charge of Pablo Ceriani, an official of Mariano Recalde in his time as head of the company, since he was re-established in 2008 and until the end of Cristina Kirchner’s second term. Ceriani, who had worked in the airline from 2013 to 2015, responds directly to the national senator, one of the creators of La Cámpora, president of the Buenos Aires PJ and aligned with the Instituto Patria.

The CEO of Aerolineas Argentinas, Pablo Ceriani.  Photo: Reuters.

The CEO of Aerolineas Argentinas, Pablo Ceriani. Photo: Reuters.

The latest official data on Aerolineas Argentinas had become known during the presentation that the then Chief of Cabinet Santiago Cafiero gave last June before the Senate. In front of Congress, Cafiero had answered questions from opposition legislators and acknowledged that the airline had a debt of “US $ 300 million, a cash of just US $ 9 million and an operating deficit of US $ 680 million. “, described by the Government as an inheritance from the management of Macri.

Cafiero had also disclosed in that management report what the subsidized amount had been during 2020 and the expenditure in the first four months of 2021: $ 16,538 million. During the year that rate of execution, reactivation of flights through, increased, and ended at $ 63,551 million.

The high level of subsidies that Aerolineas Argentinas receives is made known after the publication of presidential decree 879, signed by President Alberto Fernández, Chief of Ministers Juan Manzur and the Minister of Transportation, Alexis Guerrera, who decided that within a period of time “no more than 180 days”, the Transportation portfolio apply new maximum rates and, also, “the creation of a system of tariff bands to be applied to the regular internal services of commercial air transport”.

The application of minimum tariff bands results, in fact, a limit to the commercial expansion of the only two airlines that today offer competition to Aerolineas Argentinas in the domestic market: the “low cost” JetSmart and Flybondi, which had arrived in the country as of 2017, during the previous administration, with the premise of competing in the range of minimum prices.

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