Fighting against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the government of Argentina extended the ban of flights in, to or from the country, as well as domestic flights, until September 1, 2020. Airlines and travel agencies are forbidden from selling tickets.
Only after that date, tickets may be sold, with prior authorization from the National Civil Aviation Administration (ANAC). The regulator, which deemed the ban “reasonable”, warns that the tickets sales would be still conditioned by the “effective lifting of the restrictions imposed on commercial air transport and to the operating modalities that may be established in due course of the orderly exit of the emergency generated by the new coronavirus COVID-19”. The measure will be reevaluated every two weeks. The flight ban does not apply to repatriation and medical cargo flights.
“The problem was that airlines were selling tickets without having the authorization to fly to the Argentinian territory,” explained a spokesman for the Argentine presidency. The government claimed the measure was made in agreement with the Argentinian industry.
However, the announcement appears to have caught the local carriers by surprise. Several representatives of private airlines voiced their concerns and even the public carrier Aerolineas Argentinas said the measure represented an “imminent and substantial risk” for tens of thousands of jobs.
While it is not the only country to ban flights, it is the first to extend the measure to such a late date. Argentina, which closed its borders to non-residents on March 20, 2020, records to this day 192 dead and nearly 4000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 contamination.