Flights to Montevideo in Uruguay from Santiago in Chile, by the latter’s ultra-low-cost carrier JetSMART, has started operation on January 18, making it the airline’s sixth South American destination. JetSMART aspires to be the region’s premier Ultra-Large Crude Carrier (ULCC).
Flights to Montevideo, Uruguay announced
“We have announced the new route, Santiago, Chile and Montevideo,” said the company’s commercial manager, Darío Ratinoff during a press conference at Montevideo’s Carrasco International Airport last year.
JetSmart, a Chilean low-cost carrier, has announced that it began flying to Uruguay on January 18, with tickets starting at US $ 20. The airline intends to operate three weekly flights between Chile’s and Uruguay’s capital cities, using Airbus 320 aircraft with a capacity of 186 seats.
JetSmart will fly between Santiago and Montevideo on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, marking yet another milestone in the company’s regional expansion strategy.
The airline was founded back in 2017 in Chile. “We are very happy to be able to launch this new route and that these difficult moments that we experienced last year are ending a little bit and to think about a new reactivation”, Ratinoff said.
Tickets will be available for purchase beginning at US $ 20 per segment, plus taxes. “We sell by segment,” Ratinoff explained, noting that this mode allowed passengers to “set the rate” based on their individual needs.
Diego Arrosa, CEO of Corporación América, which manages the International Airport, stated that discussions about JetSmart’s arrival in Uruguay have been ongoing for more than four years. He also hoped that business would expand in the future.
”Uruguay has a huge opportunity to become a ‘hub’. More people are going to work from here to the world, more people are going to settle here. We have a huge opportunity, the Government has done a great job in the pandemic. We have a great country image,” said Arrosa.
Tabaré Viera, Uruguay’s Tourism Minister, stated that “air connectivity is the other leg for the reactivation of the country” in addition to border reopening and the economic incentives provided to improve competitiveness.
Tourism “has lived through difficult hours but, happily, we see a light of hope, of departure. We are a few hours from the opening of borders so dreamed of, so important for tourism,“ Viera added.
Viera also stated that the air link between Chile and Uruguay will be “very important,” given the recent growth of the Chilean market, and that it is now up to his portfolio to “deepen the introduction into that sister country.”
Uruguay has opened its borders since November 1 last year to all foreigners who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, have finished their treatment 14 days before arriving, and have a negative PCR test from no more than 72 hours before the journey.
JetSMART’s first flight to Montevideo
JetSMART began its new direct flight between Santiago de Chile’s Arturo Merino Bentez International Airport (SCL) and Montevideo’s Carrasco International Airport (MVD) on Tuesday, January 18. JA700 is the flight number. This is the first of many flights to Montevideo by the airline.
The flight was operated by a Chilean low-cost carrier using an Airbus A320. JetSMART utilized an A320-232 with the registration CC-AWF, according to RadarBox.com. According to the ch-aviation database, this aircraft had its first flight and was delivered in October 2018.
Flight JA700 was piloted by two Uruguayans, Benjamin Levy and Isabela Lioret, according to JetSMART. There were 150 persons on board.
Estuardo Ortiz, JetSMART CEO, said, “Today is a very important day because we have launched the first ultra-low-cost route connecting with Uruguay. Our objective is to offer our SMART flight proposal to all our passengers, with ultra-low fares and travelling onboard new Airbus A320 aircraft on which you only pay for what you use.”
JetSMART now serves six South American nations. Chile’s low-cost airline connects it to Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and, presently, Montevideo. Argentina also has a regional division of JetSMART.
Travel restrictions in Uruguay
Arrivals must have been completely vaccinated within the previous nine months, with the cycle completed more than 14 days before the arrival. They must produce valid documentation from the nation from which they are travelling.
Alternatively, they must provide documentation of recovery from Covid within the preceding 90 days, but no more than 20 days ago, if they previously tested positive to the virus.
Under-18s are welcome, but no evidence of immunization is required.
All arrivals above the age of six must have a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours after departure. They must also obtain Covid-19 travel insurance and complete a passenger locator form in less than 48 hours before departure.
All arrivals must do another PCR test seven days after taking the pre-flight test. There is no need to self-isolate and quarantine during this time. They can also quarantine for 14 days after arriving and avoid the day seven test. This second PCR test is optional for those under the age of 18.
Children under the age of six are not required to take any Covid tests.
According to Cirium, JetSMART will operate 406 international flights from Chile as of January 2022. There are 11 international routes served by the airline. JetSMART is offering 4.1 percent more flights and seats than in January 2020. The airline must resume flights from Santiago de Chile to Salvador (Brazil) and El Palomar (Argentina), as well as between Concepción and Lima (Peru).
Domestically, JetSMART has scheduled 1,541 flights in January 2022, representing a 9.3 percent decline from pre-pandemic traffic levels.
According to Chile’s civil aviation authorities, JetSMART had 88,350 foreign passengers between November 2021 and November 2022. The airline’s pre-pandemic traffic levels in that stretch were 73.4 percent lower.
Meanwhile, JetSMART had flown 1.3 million passengers in the domestic market, accounting for 17.4 percent of the market. Despite having the highest domestic recovery among Chilean carriers, JetSMART was still 31.4 percent behind 2019 levels (LATAM and Sky Airline).
JetSMART partners with American Airlines
Despite not returning to pre-pandemic levels, JetSMART had a fantastic year in 2021. During the Dubai Airshow, Indigo Partners sealed a major agreement for the Chilean carrier that includes 21 Airbus A321neo and two A321XLR. JetSMART will get 14 XLRs, making it one of two Airbus clients for this aircraft.
When the order was announced, Estuardo Ortiz said,
“This deal shows our compromise to keep growing and position ourselves as the leading low-cost carrier in South America. The deal with Airbus brings us closer to our goal of having 100 aircraft by 2027.”
However, JetSMART did more than merely place a new order for next-generation aircraft. The airline recently established a partnership with American Airlines, the largest airline in the United States.
American will invest in JetSMART as part of its efforts to build a mega-network across the Americas.
Finally, Ortiz stated that if finalized, the business partnership “would accelerate JetSMART’s path to becoming the leading South American low-cost carrier while expanding service for American’s customers.”