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Latam Airlines accused of price gouging during Cuenca holidays

Cuenca’s Chamber of Tourism is crying foul on Latam Airlines for raising prices of its Quito to Cuenca flights for the Cuenca holidays next month. A recent check of the airline website shows round-trip fares running $323 to $395, almost triple normal fares, from November 1 to November 5.

Chile-based LatAm benefits from a fuel subsidy for national flights.

On its Twitter account, the Chamber of Tourism said, “This is outrageous. More than ever, we are waiting for authorization for a third operator to obtain permits to fly to Cuenca, Guayaquil and Quito. The Tweet added that, if necessary, the government should regulate prices due to the fact that it subsidizes airline fuel costs for national routes. The chamber said the cost for round-trip flights to Quito and Guayaquil should be no more than $100.

Members of the National Assembly are also complaining about what one assemblywoman called a “price gouge.” Lourdes Cuesta says she plans to bring up the issue of Latam pricing to assembly leadership. “The ticket quotation I received for two adults and a child to Cuenca is $1,031,” she wrote on Twitter. “I consider this almost criminal.”

Cuenca airport officials agree with tourism officials that Cuenca would benefit from third airline. Currently, the city is served by Latam and government-owned Tame. “The Latam flights between Cuenca and Quito are often filled to capacity so it is reasonable for us to redouble efforts to attract new service,” said the assistant airport administrator.