Argentine ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) startup Flybondi has selected the Boeing 737-800 as its launch aircraft and is ready to begin negotiations for up to 50 737 MAX 200s.

Giving a March 15 update, Flybondi said it had chosen the 737-800 over the Airbus A320 and honed its launch schedule to September. The startup had previously announced a start date in the second half of 2017.

“We are convinced the Boeing 737-800 is the right aircraft to develop the ULCC model in Argentina and are very pleased with the level of support that Boeing has provided us with,” Flybondi CEO Julian Cook said. 

The 737-800s, configured with 189 seats, were selected for their low operating cost. Flybondi also finalized the details of an entry into service support agreement with Boeing.

No numbers were specified for the 737-800 acquisition, but Flybondi previously announced plans to operate four aircraft this year, adding six every year after that, to hit 30 aircraft by year five.

Cook also said Flybondi will start negotiations for an order of up to 50 Boeing 737 MAX 200s very soon.

Buenos Aires-based Flybondi initially revealed plans Sept. 30, 2016, and was granted rights on 41 domestic and 36 regional/international routes in February. The airline will launch with an initial focus on domestic routes and aims to carry 8 million passengers by its fifth year.

Flybondi attracted seed funding from a series of well-known industry veterans, including Ryanair board member and ex-COO Michael Cawley, ex-Air Canada CEO Montie Brewer and British Airways CityFlyer Express founder/ex-chairman Robert Wright, alongside a group of Argentinian investors.

Argentine entrepreneur Gaston Parisier is behind the project alongside Cook, the founder and former CEO of Swiss regional airline Flybaboo. Former WizzAir CFO Mike Powell will be Flybondi’s interim CFO.

Victoria Moores