* Uruguay to close bankrupt flagship carrier - govt source
* No new private funding found for company
* Govt eyes new airline with state participation
By Malena Castaldi
MONTEVIDEO, July 5 Uruguay has decided to close
its bankrupt flagship carrier Pluna after failing to find new
investors to replace investment fund Leadgate which pulled out,
a government source familiar with the situation said on
President Jose Mujica's government is instead looking to
create a new airline with state participation and ministers will
on Monday meet to discuss a legislative bill about the new
The government took over Pluna's operations in mid-June
after Leadgate, which owned a 75 percent stake, refused to
invest further in it.
Pluna lost more than $100 million between 2007 and 2012 due
to slowing economic growth in the region, high fuel prices and
cancellations to Buenos Aires' congested domestic airport.
"(Pluna) was not solvent ... we couldn't finance operations,
there's no liquidity and it couldn't continue to fly in this
situation," the source, who is part of the government's
executive branch, said on condition of anonymity.
The airline released a statement late on Thursday saying it
had decided to suspend all its flights indefinitely since "the
company's economic-financial situation makes it impossible to
ensure adequate operations."
Pluna flew 13 Bombardier planes to connect the Uruguayan
capital of Montevideo with cities in Argentina, Brazil and
Other airlines fly in and out of Montevideo, including the
newly formed LATAM Airlines Group, American Airlines
and Iberia, which is part of International Airlines Group
Canada's Chorus Aviation Inc holds a 33 percent
stake in Leadgate but said last month the situation at Pluna was
not affecting its current cash flow.