Several airlines are resuming commercial flights to Paraguay following the reopening of the country’s main international airports, Asuncion and Ciudad del Este, after having been closed for seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airlines resuming flights in the coming weeks include Air Europa (UX, Palma de Mallorca), Amaszonas Uruguay (AUZ, Montevideo), Avianca (AV, Bogotá), Copa Airlines (CM, Panamá City Tocumen Int'l), LATAM Airlines Group, and Paranair (ZP, Asuncion), reports Aviacionline.

Speaking at a reopening ceremony in Asunción attended by President Marito Abdo Benitez on October 22, 2020, Paraguayan civil aviation authority (DINAC) president Félix Kanazawa said commercial flight operations were expected to normalise from November. The country’s airports closed on March 24, 2020, only remaining operational for humanitarian and cargo flights. Since September, air bubble flights have been operating between Paraguay and Uruguay, reported news agency IP.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, the first airline to resume scheduled services has been Paranair, returning with weekly flights to Montevideo on October 22. Air Europa will resume a weekly service from Madrid Barajas on October 30. Next up is LATAM, returning with a weekly flight from Sao Paulo Guarulhos and Santiago de Chile Int'l each on November 2; and a weekly flight from Lima Int'l on November 7. Copa Airlines restarts three weekly flights from Panamá City Tocumen Int'l on November 2. Meanwhile, Amaszonas Uruguay resumes twice-weekly flights from Montevideo and Santa Cruz Viru Viru on November 3. The carrier already operated weekly air travel bubble flights between Paraguay and Uruguay since September. Last up will be Avianca with twice-weekly services from Bogotá on December 2.

To kickstart the aviation sector, airlines would be granted exemption from paying various airport charges, Kanazawa said. He said the number of passengers at Asuncion had decreased by 91% and the number of flights by 46% between April and September 2020, with a 21% dip in cargo operations. Despite this, Kanazawa said plans for the PYG5.5 billion Paraguayan Guarani (USD781.9 million) expansion of the air terminal and improvement of the main runway would go ahead.