While Aerolíneas Argentinas was founded back in 1950 and quickly became Argentina’s flag carrier, its history can be traced back to 1929, when Aeroposta started operations, serving Mendoza and Posadas and having Jean Mermoz and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry among its first pilots.
By 1930, two more airlines started operating in Argentina, namely LASO and LANE.
In 1945, the two airlines above merged forming LADE (Líneas Aéreas del Estado, i.e. State Airlines), and one year later, Flota Aerea Mercante Argentina (FAMA) was created to become the first intercontinental airline in Argentina.
In May 1949, all the carriers mentioned above merged, giving birth to Aerolíneas Argentinas.
In early 1950s, the introduction of the DC-6 enabled Aerolíneas Argentinas to fly at night for the first time and reach destinations such as New York, Havana, Lisbon, or London.
In March 1959, Aerolíneas Argentinas started operating its first jet, a Comet IV named “Tres Marías.”
Thanks to jets, Aerolíneas Argentinas kept growing through the 1960s and 1970s, when the company started operating the Boeing 727s, 737s and 747s, also introducing new routes to Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Zurich.
During and after the Falklands War, Aerolíneas Argentinas has been banned from flying over British airspace.
Between 1990 and 2001, the company went through tough time, after being partially acquired by Iberia.
Since 2001, the company started to get up once again, and was nationalized in September 2008.
In 2001, Aerolineas was in a big crisis. In June, the airline filed bankruptcy protection from creditors, and went into administration. The salaries were paid by the Argentine Government. The flights to Auckland, New York, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Rome were stopped. Most of the fleet was on the ground, and only 30% of domestic flights and 10% of the international flights were operating.
In late 2001, Marsans Group acquired a 92% stake of Aerolineas through its subsidiary Air Comet, injecting capital in order to resume the halted services. In early November of 2001, Aerolineas Argentinas started the resumption of international flights.
In January 2003, the company exited bankruptcy and emerged from administration a month later. That year was announced the first profit the company had in five years, along with an increase in market share.
In March 2004, Aerolineas Argentinas added to its fleet a Boeing 747-400, being the only South American Company with that type of aircraft.
In March 2005, flights to Mexico were retaken operated by Airbus 310 aircraft with a frequency of five weekly flights and a capacity of 175 tourist class passengers and 17 Club Condor passengers.
In 2006, Aerolineas Argentinas began nonstop flights to Caracas and Bogota.
On December 12, 2008, Aerolineas Argentinas inaugurated its new branch office in Asuncion, with an act that had the participation of the Argentine Ambassador, Aerolineas staff and especial guest.
In September 2008, Aerolineas Argentinas was nationalized.
In June 2010, Aerolineas Argentinas began its first changes, changing its corporate image. In August, Aerolineas Argentinas inaugurated a new route between the Aeroparque and Iguazu-Salta-Mendoza airports, with four weekly services.
In November 2010, Aerolineas Argentinas signed an agreement to join the Sky Team in 2012.
In December 2010, Aerolineas Argentinas incorporated nine Embraer 190 to Austral’s fleet, as part of the renewal plan announced by the company.
In February 2011, Aerolineas Argentinas was classified among the first 10 safest airlines in the world by the Jet Airlines Crash Data Center.
In March 2011, Aerolineas Argentinas rejoined IATA, the international association that unites the major airlines in the world.
In April 2011, a new service, Club Economy, was presented, replacing the Club Condor class on domestic and regional flights and offering more flexible fares, faster attention and higher hand baggage allowance.
In August 2012, Aerolineas Argentinas joined the SkyTeam Alliance, being the first South American country to join this alliance.
In November 2012, Aerolineas Argentinas relaunched its Plus program, allowing frequent flyers to add miles with selected credit cards.
In March 2013, Aerolineas Argentinas inaugurated is Training Center for Argentine pilots.
In April 2013, the Sky Priority Program was launched, offering the high value passengers priority and faster attendance at the check-in counters, luggage dispatch, and migration and boarding procedures.
In May 2013, as to keep up with technology and to provide a better service to the passengers, Aerolineas Argentinas offered a mobile application that lets you access the flight status, promotional fares, frequent flyers program and general information.
In February 2014, Aerolineas Argentinas acquired 4 new Airbus A330-200 aircraft. In March, Aerolineas was operating again, after 25 years, regular flights to all Argentine provinces.
In 2015, Aerolineas Argentinas signed new codeshare agreements with Korean Air, Chilean Sky Airline, Sol Lineas Aereas, and Delta Airlines.
In 2016, Aerolineas Argentinas took delivery of three new Boeing 737 800 aircraft for its domestic and regional fleet and one new Airbus 330 200 for its long-haul fleet. In December, Aerolineas Argentinas renegotiated with Boeing to change its order from 2013 for 20 Boeing 737-800 aircraft into nine B737 800, of which three already delivered, and 11 B737 MAX 8, of which the first two will be delivered at the end of 2017.
Since 1950, there have been reported 42 accidents or incidents for Aerolíneas Argentinas since 1950, but it’s good to know that – according to the Aviation Safety Network database – the last accident with one of the company’s aircraft with fatalities was in 1970.