Chilean ultralow-cost carrier JetSmart, part of the portfolio
of investment group Indigo Partners, has acquired a portion of nascent
Argentinian carrier Alas del Sur.
"The rumor is correct, but we have no further comment
at this time," Indigo managing partner Bill Franke wrote in an email to
Travel Weekly on Monday. Indigo is the major shareholder in JetSmart and
Mexican airline Volaris. It also owns Frontier and Hungarian budget carrier
Having a stake in Alas del Sur will likely facilitate
expansion for JetSmart in the Argentinian market. The investment was first
reported by South American media late last week.
Alas del Sur, founded by Argentine businessman Damian
Toscana, had originally planned to begin operations early last year. It planned
to hub in Cordoba, Argentina, and has already received regulatory approval to
operate 36 routes within Argentina and to other South American destinations,
according to the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio. Further afield international
destinations, including Los Angeles, were also in the company's plans.
JetSmart launched operations last July and now flies 19
routes within Chile as well as from Santiago to Lima, Peru.
Last fall, Indigo Partners made the largest aircraft order
in commercial aviation history: 430 Airbus narrowbodies that it will spread
among its four carriers.