Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 14:22 UK

Argentina buys back flag carrier

An Aerolineas Argentinas jet takes off from Buenos Aires' airport (file photo)
The airline is estimated to be losing $1m a day

Aerolineas Argentinas is back in state hands 18 years after Argentina's troubled national airline was sold to the private sector.

The government approved the nationalisation of the carrier and its subsidiary Austral on Thursday.

The airline, which was owned by Spanish firm Grupo Marsans, had build up debts of $900m (£505m).

It is the latest big firm to be brought back under state ownership after a wave of privatisations in the 1990s.

National saga

The nationalisation of Argentina's flag-carrier ends a long-running saga in the country.

The deal, announced in July with great fanfare by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, was welcomed by Argentines fed up with delays and cancellations.

Aerolineas is overstaffed, heavily unionised and more than half its ageing fleet of 67 planes are grounded.

But critics said the government has failed to resolve serious financial and labour woes before taking over the company.




SEE ALSO
Argentina renationalises airline
22 Jul 08 |  Business
Anger at Argentina airport delays
13 Jan 08 |  Americas
Timeline: Argentina
01 Apr 08 |  Country profiles

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