So long, Farewell Aerolineas

Nov 1, 2001

The Argentine national airline is in private hands, 11 years after it was privatized. But nobody is saying what the new owners paid for one of Latin America's worst airlines.

After years of trying, the Spanish government's industrial holding company, Sepi, managed to unload Aerolíneas Argentinas on Grupo Marsans, a private Spanish tour operator, at the beginning of October. The deal marks the end of the Spanish government's 11-year involvement with Aerolíneas, the Argentine national airline. Iberia, the Spanish national airline, took over Aerolíneas in 1990 in one of the first privatizations in Argentina as the country struggled to control its public finances and prevent another outbreak of hyperinflation. Madrid took a political decision to support the government and ordered its then state-owned companies to buy Argentine government assets. Even at the time, Argentine government officials admitted the sale of Aerolíneas was flawed as they tried to renegotiate sale terms with the Spanish. Media and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic complained of irregularities during the sale negotiations. They were also concerned that Iberia lacked the capital...

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