Like the rest of the world, Argentina, too, has been under a nationwide lockdown since March 20, which has been extended till May 1. But unlike its neighboring countries, Argentina has been rather successful in flattening the curve of the virus and slowing down the rate of new cases as till now the nation has registered close to 4000 cases and 192 deaths. But despite the positive progress, Argentina has banned all commercial flight ticket sales until September.

This is one of the toughest coronavirus travel bans no country in the world had placed, until, well Argentina. The decree, completely banning the sale and purchase of commercial flights to, from or within Argentina has been signed by the National Civil Aviation Administration, reads that it was “understood to be reasonable” to implement the restrictions. While countries in many countries have banned all commercial flights till May, this extension of the band in Argentina puts a severe strain on the aviation industry in the country, which is protesting against the decision.

“The problem was that airlines were selling tickets without having the authorization to travel to Argentine soil,” a spokesman for President Alberto Fernandez said.

Of all, it will be the domestically operated airlines and airports which will feel the ban far too severely, like the LATAM Airlines Group, and smaller ultra-low-cost carriers like FlyBondi, SkyAirlines, JETSmart, etc. They had already been finding it difficult to survive following the widespread shutting down of domestic operations before the pandemic had even hit the country. But large carriers like, Aerolineas Argentinas, which is state-owned, will sail through the ban as the government is ready to subsidize it.

The presidential spokesman announced that the decision was a “consensus between the government and the airline sector” with the agreement that Argentines who were abroad will be brought back in an “orderly” and “sanitary” manner.

But this decision has led to a united outcry by the industries, including ALTA, who are protesting against the decree which will present “imminent and substantial risk” to thousands of jobs in Argentina.

“The resolution ... was not shared or agreed with the industry and, furthermore, runs counter to the efforts of all the actors in the sector,” the groups said in the statement.

Enrique Peña Nieto is purchasing a $580 million dollar jet. Creative Commons

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