September 23, 2020

The Bolivian government says it will boost the state airline in trouble



The interim government of Bolivia said Tuesday that it will empower the state-owned airline Boliviana de Aviacion (BoA) despite the financial problems that it raises, amid complaints of supporters of former President Evo Morales that his bankruptcy is sought to privatize it.

THE GOVERNMENTAL VERSION

“BoA has inherited a very strong crisis that is solving it, is in a saving process and BoA is flying more and more,” said the interim minister of Public Works, Services and Housing, Iván Arias, at a press conference in La Paz .

The authority also assured that the airline “is not going to close” and that it is the “task” of the transitional government “to continue allowing BoA to fly and be more efficient.”

On the eve, the general manager of BoA, Juan Carlos Ossio, denounced that the airline records an accumulated loss of about 50 million dollars since 2015, which, according to the official, was hidden by the previous Administration.

Since the change of management after the stage of Evo Morales in power, the airline has achieved savings of more than 2 million dollars and also generated revenues of 2.4 million dollars, according to data provided by the Ministry of Public Works.

According to the interim minister, BoA used to fly “with a small number of passengers” and there were even times when the route to Chimoré was covered, a remote area in the center of the country, with just three people, which represented an expense of 7,000 dollars for each hour of flight.

Faced with criticism for the reduction of frequencies to some destinations, Arias said that it was sought to make the company more effective by joining routes, which allowed to have “more passengers” and gain “greater preservation of flights and greater money.”

POINTS OF VIEW

The situation of the airline has been cause for criticism by supporters of Morales and the same ex-president, who said on Twitter that he is “deeply concerned” about alleged allegations of BoA workers “about illiquidity and mismanagement” in the firm .

“The coup plotters are destroying public companies to privatize them. They seek to strip the people of their heritage.”

The president of the Bolivian Senate, Eva Copa, who belongs to the Morales party, warned that in the Legislature, in which that political force has the majority, they will be “faithful vigilant that these companies cannot be privatized.”

For his part, former Bolivian president and electoral candidate Jorge Quiroga considered on Twitter that the financial problems uncovered in the airline “are a small part of the economic embezzlement” caused by the Morales party “for 14 years” in power.

“The current government must show the reality of all businesses, loans and the real economic situation,” he added.

FUTURE PLANS

Arias insisted that his ministry works “to save the disaster” that the Morales government left “and BoA is a priority.”

To this end, an investment plan will be presented this month to empower the airline through actions such as the purchase of two widened and five medium-range aircraft, he said.

It will also seek the approval of a law to sell two planes “that are already completing their cycle” and buy new aircraft, in addition to the opening of routes to Lima and the tourist town of Rurrenabaque, in the Bolivian Amazonian northeast, he said.

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