Argentina gives green light to budget airline Flybondi
BUENOS AIRES, June 29 (Reuters) - Argentina's transportation ministry authorized low-cost airline FB Lineas Aereas, known commercially as Flybondi, to operate domestic and international flights, according to a notice published Thursday in the country's official gazette.
With the resolution, all five airlines that received a preliminary go-ahead in February from the civil aviation authority to operate in Latin America's No. 3 economy have now been granted final permission. American Jet, Alas del Sur and Andes Lineas Aereas were cleared in March.
A unit of Colombian airline Avianca Holdings SA was cleared in May following a probe of a possible conflict of interest involving the airline and President Mauricio Macri.
Macri's government estimates that allowing the airlines to enter the market, currently dominated by state-owned Aerolineas Argentinas and Chile's Latam Airlines Group SA, and offer more competitive prices will spur nearly $2 billion in investment in the next four years and boost air travel.
But the embrace of budget airlines has generated protests by airline employees who fear the competition will undercut their benefits.
FB Lineas Aereas' concession will be for 15 years, the government said, the same time period as the other four airlines.
(Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Bernard Orr)