ARGENTINA has banned all passenger flights until the beginning of September.
The country’s National Civil Aviation Administration announced on Monday that companies cannot sell tickets for commercial flights going in and out of the country until September 1 due to the coronavirus crisis.
The decree states it “has been understood to be reasonable” to implement the restrictions until that date.
Only flights carrying cargo or involved in repatriating citizens will be allowed to take off and land.
The Argentine government said the move was justified due to the “unprecedented situation” created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The administration claimed measures already in place do “not allow certainties regarding the end of the social isolation measure, preventive and mandatory, which threatens the commercial air transport of passengers.”
The decision has prompted strong criticism within the aviation industry. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has written to the Argentine government claiming the move contravenes bilateral agreements and threatens around 300,000 jobs in the South American nation.
It is a view echoed by local industry groups. ALTA, which lobbies on behalf of Latin American airlines, said the decree represented an “imminent and substantial risk” to thousands of jobs.
Argentina has some less than confirmed cases of Covid-19, while 192 people have lost their lives to the virus, according to John Hopkins University statistics.
The country has been under a strict nationwide lockdown since March 20, which on Saturday President Alberto Fernandez extended until May 10.