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The Chilean ultra-low-cost carrier JetSMART has had a lot on its hands in the last few months. This airline, backed by the Indigo Partners firm, is looking to receive more than 100 aircraft (including the exciting Airbus A321XLR), launch international flights in Peru, start a new subsidiary in Colombia, and get approval on a partnership with American Airlines, which includes a minority investment from the US company. So, what’s the latest with JetSMART? Let’s take a look. 

In 2022, JetSMART officially launched its third subsidiary, located in Peru. The company had branches in Chile and Argentina. Six months have passed, and the airline is currently operating around 200 weekly flights on 14 routes, mostly from Lima International Airport (LIM). 

With a fleet of four Airbus A320neo aircraft, JetSMART Peru is looking to launch many more routes in the future. Peruvian authorities approved the airline’s 22 new requested international routes in December. JetSMART Peru is looking to launch flights to Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador from Lima, Cuzco, and Arequipa International Airports. 

In 2022, JetSMART also filed a request to Colombia’s civil aviation authorities to open up a new subsidiary in that South American country. The company requested approval for 111 routes operated between 22 airports across Colombia. 

Nonetheless, the Colombian authorities halted the request saying that JetSMART has to inform “extensively and sufficiently” about the “concentration operation consisting of the acquisition by American Airlines of a stake in JetSMART.”

Additionally, JetSMART must file a new proposal reducing the number of requested routes. Colombian authorities do not believe JetSMART would have enough aircraft capacity to serve the 111 proposed routes. We are still waiting for new developments on this project by JetSMART. 

The partnership with American Airlines

The proposed minority investment from American Airlines in JetSMART has been recently approved by the Chilean government. 

JetSMART said that this approval is “a significant step in this process that will move forward with its corresponding states and will undoubtedly bring enormous benefits to our passengers, with a larger route network between the United States and South America.”

Both companies believe the JetSMART-American alliance represents a unique opportunity to leverage the strengths of the ultra-low-cost and full-service business models. 

JetSMART and American Airlines are currently working on the development of a codeshare and interline agreement. 

JetSMART’s future fleet

JetSMART has one of the largest Airbus narrowbody orders in the Americas, alongside Volaris (119 aircraft to be delivered), Avianca (102), and LATAM Airlines (100). The Chilean ultra-low-cost carrier expects to receive 102 narrowbody jets in the next few years. This includes 41 Airbus A320neo, 47 A321neo, and 14 A321XLRs. 

JetSMART will be the launch customer of the XLR in Latin America. Two other customers – Chile’s Sky Airline, and LATAM Airlines– have announced orders for the XLR aircraft. 

The last we heard, entry into service of the Airbus A321XLR is expected to come in the second quarter of 2024. When JetSMART receives this aircraft, it will be able to launch plenty of non-stop routes, including Santiago de Chile-Miami, competing against the likes of LATAM and American Airlines, which operate this route with Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 777-200 widebodies. 

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Daniel Martínez Garbuno is a Mexican journalist. He has specialized in the air industry working mainly for A21, a Mexican media outlet focused entirely on the aviation world. He has also published on other sites like Simple Flying, Roads & Kingdoms, Proceso, El Economista, Buzos de la Noticia, Contenido, and Notimex.

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