Uruguay's Government has reportedly decided to close Pluna after failing to find new investors to replace investment fund Leadgate which pulled out of the carrier, according to a El Pais report. The Government is instead looking to create a new airline with state participation and ministers will reportedly meet on 09-Jul-2012 to discuss a legislative bill about the new carrier. The Government took over Pluna's operations in mid-Jun-2012 Leadgate, which owned a 75% stake in the carrier, refused to invest further in the carrier. Pluna lost more than USD100 million between 2007 and 2012 due to slowing economic growth in the region, high fuel prices and congestion issues at key airports. The carrier, on 03-Jul-2012, stated it would suspend all services from 21:20 on 03-Jul-2012 to 12:00 on 06-Jul-2012 due to strike action at the carrier. The carrier subsequently stated, on 05-Jul-2012, that "the company's economic-financial situation makes it impossible to ensure adequate operations." The carrier has a fleet of 12 Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft that has been renewed in 2008. It operated services between Montevideo and Punta del Este (Uruguay) and three destinations in Argentina, one in Chile, one in Paraguay and nine in Brazil.
Pluna closes down
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Uruguay’s BQB Líneas Aéreas pursues rapid expansion, emerging as successor to Pluna
BQB Líneas Aéreas has accelerated expansion, positioning it as Uruguay’s new flag carrier 18 months after the demise of Pluna.
BQB began pursuing expansion in late 2013 with four new routes, its first jet (a wet-leased A320) and a fourth ATR 72 turboprop. The carrier is planning further expansion in 2014, including the acquisition of a fifth ATR 72 and up to three A319s while the wet-leased A320 will be returned.
BQB should be large enough by the end of 2014 to render the proposed re-launch of Pluna or the establishment of another new Uruguayan carrier unnecessary. Uruguay is a small market and BQB is already about one third the size of Pluna, which had operated a fleet of 13 CRJ900s.