Argentina optimistic over air transport deal with US

WASHINGTON — Argentina expects to see economic benefits in the coming months after eliminating restrictions on frequency and stops on airline routes connecting with the United States.

Both countries now have a total of 82 flights in each direction each week, though a bilateral air transport agreement amended this week by Argentine Minister of Transport Guillermo Dietrich and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao has allowed 102 since 2009.

The updated agreement "means more tourism and more business opportunities because Argentine companies will have it easier to expand operations," Dietrich said Thursday during his two-day visit to Washington.

He said the agreement may feed a trend of already higher connectivity with the U.S. He said cargo shipped by air from Argentina has grown 11.5% over the last four years.

Tomas Insausti, administrator of the Argentine Authority for Civil Aviation, said the new deal will make it easier for Argentine airlines to forge alliances with U.S. counterparts.

The Argentine companies "will increase hard-currency revenue per ticket. And if they share routes with U.S. companies, they will split profits in more flights," Insausti said.

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Luis Alonso Lugo on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/luisalonsolugo

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