The owners of Ireland's Ryanair Holdings Plc aim to bring budget air travel to Argentina in 2017, co-founder Declan Ryan told newspaper La Nacion after meeting with government officials in the South American nation.
La Nacion reported the move would likely come through an acquisition, and said Salta-based Andes Líneas Aereas is a target, citing anonymous sources.
Ryanair is present in Mexico and Colombia through investments by its holding company Irelandia Aviation in other airlines. Irelandia Aviation said about $50 million was needed to start operations with an initial fleet of five aircraft, according to La Nacion.
Ryan said he was optimistic about Argentine President Mauricio Macri's economic reforms but noted high inflation and corruption in the country were still concerns.
"We have started negotiating with all the countries in the region except for Brazil where there is lots of corruption," he told the paper.
Ryan did not specify possible routes in Argentina, but said he was surprised to learn students frequently traveled 20 hours by bus to the mountains of Bariloche, noting budget airlines could compete with bus fares. (Reuters)