parent=Government of Uruguay
headquarters=Montevideo, Uruguay
key_people= Matías Campiani (General Manager)
hubs=Carrasco Int'l Airport
focus_cities=Punta del Este Airport
lounge=Blue Lounge

PLUNA Líneas Aéreas Uruguayas S.A. ("Primeras L"íneas" U"ruguayas" "de" N"avegación" A"érea) is Uruguay's national airline and is based in Montevideo. It operates scheduled services within South America and to Spain, as well as unscheduled cargo and charter services. Its main base is Carrasco International Airport, Montevideo.cite news | title= Directory: World Airlines | work= Flight International | page= 64 | date= 2007-04-10]


1930- 1939

The airline was established in September 1936 and started operations on November 20, 1936. It was formed by the brothers Jorge Márquez Vaesa and Alberto Márquez Vaesa, who had obtained the necessary financial and technical support through the ambassador of the United Kingdom to Uruguay at the time, Sir Eugen Millington-Drake. The airline flew two De Havilland 5-passenger Dragonfly aircraft, from Montevideo to Salto and Paysandú. [ PLUNA's history] ] The two planes were baptized "Churrinche" and "San Alberto", the latter in honor of the brothers' father. PLUNA flew 2,600 passengers in their first fiscal year, a huge success for that era. It also flew 20,000 pieces of mail and 70,000 newspapers.


The 1940s saw PLUNA's expansion into the international field, with the airline's first regular service to Brazil in December, 1947, which linked the cities of Montevideo and Punta del Este with Porto Alegre, Brazil. This route was later extended to include São Paulo as well. Also added to PLUNA's network were Santa Cruz in Bolivia, as well as the Argentine destinations of Buenos Aires, Rosario and Córdoba. The airline was nationalised in 1951.

PLUNA's growth slowed considerably for the next three decades, but it entered the jet age soon after jets were introduced to the world, and added John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and Miami, Florida to its destinations, using Boeing 707 and Boeing 737 aircraft.


In the 1980s, PLUNA began flying to Madrid, Asunción, Rio de Janeiro and Santiago de Chile, but services to JFK and Miami were suspended. The city of Punta del Este, in Uruguay's southeast, flourished as a major tourist destination, and PLUNA benefited from that. During this time, an office was also opened in Tel Aviv, Israel.


The 1990s saw financial trouble loom for PLUNA, and in 1994 the government sold a 49% stake to a Varig-led consortium. Many people know the company as PLUNA-Varig. Nevertheless, PLUNA remains active with over 40 weekly flights from Montevideo's Carrasco International Airport, using Boeing 737, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 equipment.

Ownership of the airline until June 2005 comprised the Government of Uruguay (48%), Varig (49%), Victor Mesa (2%) and PLUNA's employees (1%). When Varig entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 11, 2005, it sought a bidder for its 49% stake in PLUNA. For almost a year, it looked as if it might go to Venezuela's state-run Conviasa, but the deal officially fell through in July 2006. In September 2006, the Uruguayan Government bought 98% of PLUNA, reducing VARIG's share to just 2%. In January 4, 2007, the Government of Uruguay started negotiations to sell 75% of it shares to a private investors consortium from Germany, United States, Uruguay and Argentina called Leadgate Investment, that will invest US$177 million in the company. [ Ambitious project to recover Uruguay's flag carrier] ]

On October 30, 2007, PLUNA presented its new corporate image, developed by Australian design company Cato Partners. This new image is based on the interpretation of the name "Uruguay" as meaning "river of the painted birds". [ PLUNA presenta nueva imagen y planes para la próxima temporada] ] Among other things, this change was motivated by the company's intention to distance itself from Varig's corporate image and to project a new, more youthful, warmer and sympathetic personality.


During 2008 the first five of the brand new CRJ900 have arrived and are now flying for Pluna. This has led to an expansion of service to new destinations.

The full list of destinations (from Montevideo) is now, Punta del Este, Buenos Aires (both Aeroparque and Ezeiza), Rosario, Cordoba, Santiago de Chile, Asuncion, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba. Though Pluna has suspended its service to Madrid it code shares with Iberia on the route and also with American Airlines to Miami.

[ PLUNA renueva su imagen e incorpora destinos] ]



The fleet currently consists of (as of 3 October 2008): [] [ PLUNA's fleet] ]

Incidents and accidents

As of September 2008, PLUNA has had no accidents or incidents in its 70 year history.


External links

* [ Company website]

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