Argentina evicts LAN airline from Buenos Aires hangar

Latin America’s biggest airline has said the Argentine authorities have evicted it from its hangar in Buenos Aires’ main domestic airport.

Latam Airlines says its LAN Argentina operation will be unable to continue if the eviction notice is acted on. The Chilean-Brazilian owned carrier is the main competitor to Argentina’s state-run Aerolineas. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has often been accused of protecting state-run firms.

The decision to evict LAN Argentina has outraged the airline, travel agents and trade unions, which fear job losses. LAN Argentina said it had spent $5m on maintaining the hangar at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, and paid $20,000 each month in rent under a contract that runs to 2023. The airline said it had been given 10 days to leave the hangar, but had been given no reason for the eviction. “We’l go to the courts to enforce our rights,” said Agustin Agraz, LAN Argentina’s spokesman.

The airport authorities said the eviction was “in the national interest”, but did not elaborate.

Ms Fernandez’s government was widely criticised by international investors last year for nationalising an oil firm part-owned by Spanish company Repsol.

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