SANTIAGO (Reuters) - JetSmart, a low-cost airline set to launch this year in Chile, said on Thursday it will offer one-way tickets for less than $2, as the nation’s passenger air market becomes increasingly competitive.
“We will have 30,000 tickets for 1,000 pesos ($1.50) per one-way trip plus taxes, to fly within Chile ... in 2017,” JetSmart, owned by Indigo Partners, an airline-focused U.S. investment fund, said on its website.
Indigo Partners has already carved out a niche in ultra-low-cost airlines and owns Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris and part of Denver-based Frontier Airlines. Indigo is known for unbundled, or a la carte, fares that carry cheap base prices but charge additional fees for extras, such as carry-on bags too big to fit under the seat and advance seat assignments.
In February, Indigo announced that JetSmart would operate three Airbus A320s in Chile in 2017, and another six in 2018. While the company will focus on domestic routes, it will eye opportunities for regional expansion once established in Chile, Indigo managing partner Bill Franke said at the time.
Chile’s airline market is dominated by LATAM Airlines, Latin America’s largest carrier, with a smaller share taken by established low-cost carrier Sky.
LATAM, which has been facing increasing pressure from low-cost airlines throughout the region, is rolling out a partial low-cost model this year.
Low-cost carrier Viva Air launched in Peru in May, low-cost airline Flybondi is set to launch later this year in Argentina, and Norwegian Air is set to launch long-haul, low-cost routes from Europe to Buenos Aires early next year.
(The story is refiled to delete extraneous words in 2nd paragraph)
Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Leslie Adler
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