Uruguay’s national airline, Pluna, had nothing but positive news to share on yesterday’s earnings call from Montevideo.
For the first six months of the year, the company posted record revenue, ticket sales and passenger growth. From January through June, Pluna ticket sales topped US$75 million, a 90% increase over 2010, while the number of tickets sold jumped 53% over the same period in 2010.
Yesterday’s positive operating news was just the latest chapter in an amazing turnaround story for the regional carrier. After buying 98% of the company from struggling Varig, the Uruguay government sold off 75% of Pluna shares in 2007 which are now controlled by Leadgate Investment (50%) and Canada’s Jazz (25%). Since then, the company has invested in state-of-the-art Bombardier aircraft and a savvy business model built on low fares, more Brazilian routes and Montevideo as a regional hub.
In terms of execution, Pluna flew 75% more flights to and from Brazil in the first half of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. Those flights carried more than 45,000 passengers between Montevideo and the Brazilian cities of Belo Horizonte, Campinas, Curitiba, Florianopolis, Iguazu, Porto Alegre, Rio and Sao Paulo. Pluna recently added service to Brasilia bringing the number of cidades brasileiras served to nine.
Simultaneously, Pluna transported more than 100,000 passengers to Uruguay between January and June, a 37% increase over the first half of 2010. (Full Story in Spanish)
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