Argentina turmoil: Norwegian cedes LCC operations to JetSMART

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A little more than year after launching domestic operations in Argentina, Norwegian Air Argentina is exiting the market and selling a 100% stake to JetSMART Argentina.

Norwegian is trying to achieve sustained financial health, and a three aircraft operation halfway around the world seems like a logical cord to cut. Argentina's economy is faltering, and the administration that instituted reforms for the establishment of LCCs in the country was voted out of office in Oct-2019.

If the incoming government preserves the reforms that paved the way for low cost operators to enter the market, two ultra low cost airlines will remain in Argentina - Flybondi and JetSMART Argentina. Perhaps a more rational number of low cost operators for the country.

For now, all airlines in Argentina are battling currency headwinds and general unease as the country's economy continues to suffer. Even as inflation climbed to more than 50%, Argentina's domestic passenger growth remained solid, but in Oct-2019 it slowed to flat growth year-on-year after double digit market increases for most of this year.

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