British Airways is to step up its service to daily between Heathrow and Buenos Aires from the start of the winter season on Sunday 26 October. The flight goes via Sao Paulo and was previously four times weekly. At the same time BA will introduce a three times per week non-stop operation to Rio de Janeiro, a service which previously went via SAO.
For the Buenos Aires/Sao Paulo flights British Airways will operate Boeing 747s in a four-class layout, whilst on Rio a smaller Boeing 777 will be used, with Club World and World Traveller available. For both Brazilian destinations TAM offers competition, an airline which is soon to introduce the latest Boeing 777, replacing elderly MD11s.
Competition to Argentina comes in the form of Aerolineas Argentinas, once the country's national airline but in recent times majority owned by the Spanish travel group Viajes Marsans, who also control Air Comet. Legislation is currently going through parliament in Argentine to re-nationalise the airline, and this is expected to be confirmed in mid-September.
Under the present arrangements Aerolineas Argentinas passengers from the United Kingdom fly via Air Comet's two-class Airbus A320 twice-daily Gatwick - Madrid (Barajas T1) service. Both flights connect with Aerolineas Argentinas daily Buenos Aires operation using a two-class Boeing 747 for the 12.5 hour sector.
Whilst the Argentine Tourist Board is pleased to see British Airways flying daily to Buenos Aires its goal is non-stop services. Rodolfo Milesi, a London-based spokesman for the tourist board said that visitors from the United Kingdom are arriving in record numbers. "We are delighted that BA is satisfying the demand but we believe that there is far greater potential. With Aerolineas Argentinas also established with a marketing office in London the future is bright. A great deal depends on the future of Aerolineas Argentinas."