Air Transport World

Cloning success

Argentina's LAPA models its operation after Southwest and hopes profits will follow

Edvaldo Pereira Lima

BUENOS AIRES - Inspired by Southwest Airlines' no-frill brand of service and taking advantage of neoliberal winds blowing in the local air-policy environment, Lineas Aereas Privadas Argentinas (LAPA) is becoming a major player in Argentina's domestic industry.

Although it ranks third behind Aerolines Argentinas and Austral, LAPA is growing. Meanwhile, its chronically troubled competitors struggle on, while awaiting the outcome of the latest ownership restructuring.

Recent figures show that LAPA has grown rapidly from a 5% share of the domestic market in 1993, its first full year of jet operations. Last year, it accounted for 27% of the market. It boarded 1.3 million passengers, up from 163,930 in 1993. 'We hope to be the dominant airline in the domestic market by next year,' says CEO Gustavo Andres Deutsch.

The airline also is expanding into the international arena, taking advantage of the governmental policy to end the monopoly status enjoyed by Aerolineas Argentinas. …

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