Government controlled Air New Zealand’s has formally abandoned the South American Polar Route pioneered by Argentina’s Aerolineas Argentinas in 2012

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Government-owned Air New Zealand is clear on where it wants to fly – and where it doesn’t – as it rebuilds its broken international network. It does not want to fly to South America anymore. Auckland Airport shareholders which are programmed to spend billions making Auckland Airport the hub between Asia and South America will be disappointed to hear this I am sure.

It looks like Australias Sydney Airport will take up this role as New Zealand has become a shunned destination for business and personal travel due to its continued extreme response to covid and its anti-business stance.

The History of the Polar Route

Aerolineas Argentinas has a rich history and it was the first airline to start Southern “Polar” flight operations between South America and Oceania in the 1980s. Those days they flew the B747-200 from Buenos Aires via Rio Gallegos to Auckland and it was extended to Sydney in the early 1990s. The flight path is one of the MOST ISOLATED ocean crossings in the world with only 2 alternative points in Antarctica for an emergency.

In the 2000s, I saw them bringing in the newer A340-200 on the same route 3 times a week.  My wife, family and friends have flown Aerolineas between New Zealand and South America in 2003 regularly over the years and enjoyed their services which later was taken over by Air New Zealand as a codeshare.

The rumour is that Latam Airlines might fill this void in the future due to the strong business and social ties between Australia and South America

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About Geoffrey W W McRae

With a highly distinguished career spanning more than three decades across five different countries, New Zealander Geoffrey McRae has established himself as a leading authority on South American real estate, agricultural, and commercial matters. As the founder of Gateway to South America – a real estate consulting group specialising in six South American countries – Geoffrey has developed a reputation for discretion, expertise, and experience that has seen him represent some of the most prestigious clients in the region. His deep knowledge and experience of South American markets have placed him at the forefront of the industry and given him the opportunity to guide and advise with confidence and surety. His long and successful career – which continues to evolve and expand daily – is a testament to his talent, tenacity, and ambition.

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