Boliviana de Aviación Confirms Madrid Launch Plans

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Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen,
Editor, Routesonline

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Boliviana de Aviación Confirms Madrid Launch Plans

Boliviana de Aviación (BoA), the state-owned national flag carrier of Bolivia, has confirmed plans to inaugurate long-haul flights to the Spanish capital Madrid from November this year.  A relative newcomer to the South American aviation business, BoA was established in 2007 eventually replacing Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano as the country’s main operator following the latter’s collapse and eventual closure in 2010.

After launching flights in March 2009 initially with just two Boeing 737-300s the carrier has now expanded its fleet to seven aircraft and established a strong domestic network comprising Cobija, Cochabamba, La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Sucre and Tarija.  In August 2011 it expanded into the international market with flights to Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo from Cochabamba and Santa Cruz and has been rumoured to be looking to introduce links to Caracas, Havana, Lima, Miami and Santiago in the future.

The growth into the long-haul market will represent a major step for the carrier.  It is expected to offer a three times weekly link between Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the largest city in Bolivia and one of the fastest growing in the world and Madrid Barajas Airport using a leased widebodied jet.  The airline confirms flights will commence on November 22, 2012. 

The Santa Cruz – Madrid link has seen continual service since August 2003 when Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano launched flights, but there have been no scheduled services since July this year when the latest operator on the route, Aerosur was shutdown.  In that nine year period Spanish carrier Air Plus Comet, latterly known as Air Comet also provided flights between the cities from August 2007 to December 2009.

Boliviana de Aviación’s debut on the route will come just a week before Spanish carrier Air Europa launches its own Madrid – Santa Cruz schedule.  The airline will offer two non-stop weekly rotations using an Airbus A330-200 from November 29, 2012, although up until December 19, 2012 one of these flights will route via the Venezuelan capital Caracas on its inbound journey back to Europe.

The table below shows how demand on the route has fluctuated as airlines have come and gone, but highlights the potential for future growth.  According to the data, an estimated 138,000 O&D passengers flew between the two cities in 2007 when Aerosur, Air Plus Comet and Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano all offered flights.  This fell more than half to around 60,000 in 2008, but grew again to 74,000 in 2009.  However, the loss of Air Comet services meant traffic slipped in 2010 to approximately 67,000, before growing again to 76,000 as Aerosur boosted its own operations.  Ahead of its collapse this summer, air passenger demand on the route for the first six months of 2012 was up 15.3 per cent on the same period in 2011.

AIR PASSENGER DEMAND BETWEEN SANTA CRUZ AND MADRID (bi-directional O&D passengers)

Year

Estimated O&D Passengers

% Change in Traffic Demand

2011

76,021

13.8 %

2010

66,801

(-10.0) %

2009

74,234

22.8 %

2008

60,434

(-56.3) %

2007

138,242

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