Air Transport World

Tango American.

Aerolineas Argentinas' new partner American Airlines is teaching it the latest dance steps

American Airlines has wasted little time in putting its stamp on Aerolineas Argentinas since it became a part-owner of the Argentine flag carrier last year by acquiring a 10% stake in its 90%-owner Interinvest for $25 million. Under former American Airlines MD-Planning David Cush, Aerolineas Argentinas, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, has taken dramatic steps to improve its position.

The first area to be tackled was the systems issue. "There had been a lack of investment in the airline for some time, not only in terms of aircraft but also in terms of systems, methods and procedures," says Cush. "We knew we had a number of things that had to be achieved in order to make Aerolineas a solid and profitable airline." To aid in the transformation, AMR Corp. subsidiary Sabre signed a $120 million, 10-year contract to provide consultancy services, as well as planning and managing eight new IT systems that will replace those currently installed. These systems comprise reservations, flight planning, operations, accounting and air crew scheduling, among other activities.

The fleet issue came next. There were a couple of problems there. "Aerolineas was flying 747-200s, which are too large, too inefficient and also have range limitations for the routes that the airline needs to fly them on," according to Cush. In the narrowbody fleet the problem was commonality. The airline had 19 737s of seven different types, and Aerolineas and domestic affiliate Austral also flew MD-8 is, MD-88s and DC-9s. …

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