Aerolíneas Argentina took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 8 Nov. 29 and flew the aircraft’s first commercial flight from Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) to Mendoza in western Argentina Dec. 4. Aerolíneas is the first Latin American carrier to fly a MAX aircraft.

The state-run airline plans to take delivery of an additional 11 MAX 8s by 2020, including one in December and three in 2018. Aerolíneas intends to utilize the aircraft on regional routes with an expansion to the Caribbean planned for late 2018.

Aerolíneas’ MAX 8, incorporating CFM LEAP 1B engines, is configured for 170 passengers.

“Adding the 737 MAX to our fleet is yet one more example of the growth we are envisioning for our company,” Aerolíneas president Mario Dell’Acqua said.

Aerolíneas reportedly has seen a 15% increase in passenger traffic in 2017, and a 22% rise since 2015. The airline is focusing on increased regional and provincial connectivity, part of the Argentine government’s renewed focus on improving the country’s air transport sector.  From the two major Buenos Aires airports, EZE and Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, Aerolíneas flies to 22 international destinations in America and Europe, and in tandem with its regional subsidiary Austral flies to 37 domestic Argentine destinations.

According to the airline’s fleet plan, Aerolíneas will end 2017 with 12 Airbus widebody A330/A340 aircraft, 41 Boeing 737 aircraft, including 39 737NGs and its two new 737 MAX 8s, as well as 26 Embraer E190s flying for Austral.

Mark Nensel