Bolivia's Amaszonas Group has unveiled plans to invest almost USD30 million into its Amaszonas Uruguay (Z7, Montevideo) operation as competition to gain a secure foothold in the Uruguayan capital intensifies.

Following last week's reports that Brazilian LCC Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AD, Sao Paulo Viracopos) is considering opening its first foreign base in Montevideo during the course of 2017, Amaszonas Group put forward its longterm expansion plan to Tabaré Vázquez's government this week.

According to El Pais, during their presentation to Uruguayan Minister of Transport and Public Works, Victor Rossi, Amaszonas Group said it would inject USD18.4 million into its Uruguayan operations in 2017 while boosting the number of aircraft based out of Montevideo by six, presumably CRJ200s. Then, in 2018, an additional USD10.4 million will be invested alongside four more CRJ-200s. The total USD28.4 million investment will add to the USD20 million poured in thus far.

The plan envisages developing Montevideo into a main Southern Cone hub feeding consolidated traffic from smaller secondary towns and cities into services to larger metropolitan hubs such as São Paulo Guarulhos.

"We want to give it the connectivity that Uruguay needs, so we will strengthen each of the destinations we have planned and add several frequencies a day until we are the only Uruguayan airline," Amaszonas Group's Executive Vice President Luis Vera said.

Amaszonas del Uruguay currently operates a single CRJ200 on double-daily (weekdays only) flights to Buenos Aires Aeroparque. However, by March 2017, the carrier expects to increase this number to three to six daily flights. Other additions will include a daily service to Santa Cruz Viru Viru, and daily flights to Córdoba Int'l, Argentina, and Porto Alegre, Brazil.

The ch-aviation capacity module shows that at present, Montevideo is primarily controlled by LATAM Airlines Group through its LATAM Airlines Brasil and LATAM Airlines units which, combined, offer 30.74% (8,942 seats) of the airfield's weekly international seating capacity. In second place is Brazilian LCC GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes with 18.86%, and Aerolineas Argentinas in third place with 9.02%. For its part, Amaszonas Group's combined offerings (i.e. that of its Bolivian, Uruguayan, and Paraguayan units) amounts to only 6.01% or 1,750 seats/week.