On 11 September 2018, with my husband, we were invited by Aerolineas Argentinas to visit the Hangars and the Cefepra, thanks to the “Platinum Experience” for its AR Plus frequent passengers.
The experience began with a breakfast at the Hotel Panamericano. Then the guests went to Ezeiza Airport with a charter. In our case, with our car we went directly at the airport.
The personal of Aerolineas Argentinas told us how to get to the entrance of Hangars and the Cefepra because, of course, it isn’t from the main entrance to the airport from Ricchieri Highway.
Along the way, near the entrance, we saw many the tails of some abandoned aircraft as well planes of several companies that arrived that morning and depart hours later.
The beginning of an unforgettable visit
We met the group of passengers who were with Guillermo, Natalia and Alejandra from Aerolineas Argentinas at the door of Hangar 1.
After the safety check, we began the tour with a pilot and also a mechanic named Fernando with more than 20 years at the company.
Fernando explained everything very clearly, besides answering all our questions. In fact, he told us “interrupt when you want because I start to talk and I do not stop”. This phrase demonstrates his passion for aviation and love towards Aerolíneas Argentinas.
The tour includes hangars 3, 4 and 5.
The most recent, modern hangar is number 5, with cutting-edge technology, unique in Latin America.
The first stop was in the maintenance workshops of the turbines. A little pearl: seeing a spare turbine of the 737-MAX 8 with the sign that it had “zero hours of flight”.
The truth is that impresses us the size as we are looking so close, standing next to the engine.
We also saw a turbine of an Airbus 330-200, even bigger logically.
From there we walked to the Hangar 4 where we saw an A330-200 (registration LV-FNL).
Walking a lot around the plane, taking pictures under his “belly”, wings, and engines was part of the experience. Seeing so closely to such a machine really thrills.
Entering to the plane from the airport airplane sleeve, flying or see it from the distance before embarking is one thing, but we never finish understanding their immensity until we are standing in front of the plane. Maybe it sounds exaggerated, but I love airplanes.
And that told me Natalia from Aerolineas Argentinas: she’s still excited to see them even when she works surrounded by them every day.
The hangar 3 is for light maintenance, reviewing them without demanding too much time. At that time there was a Boeing 737-800, registration LV-CXT that of course, we walked around.
From there, we crossed the platform while we saw a couple of 737-800 parked and the one of the newest planes of the company: Boeing 737-MAX 8, precisely the LV – HKU.
Aerolineas Argentinas owned five 737 MAX 8.
As many may be know, Aerolineas Argentinas is the first company in South America to fly this very modern aircraft.
At the platform were some planes waiting to fly later (most Americans who arrived that morning and would leave at night).
Further away was a scrapped Airbus A340 (then we will see its doors in the Cefepra) and a Southern Winds plane, also in scrapyard.
Hangar 5: the newest
Awesome, modern, ecological. This hangar closes completely and among other things, allows weighing aircraft.
At Hangar 5 the maintenance of the wide-body fleet is done: the two A340-300 that remain for the company plus all the fleet of ten Airbus 330-200.
The Hangar 5 with capacity to perform maintenance tasks to two wide-body aircraft simultaneously or four like the 737-800.
The building is friendly to the environment, has low consumption LED lighting, a rainwater reuse system for cleaning works.
At the time of the visit we saw the A340-300, registration LV – FPV with the livery Skyteam. That plane brought us back from Madrid in 2014. Immediately, all the memories of a beautiful flight at Club Condor (business class) came to me.
More of the visit
Other points visited were different workshops such as tires, hydraulics. In fact we did a test of how the toilets of the airplanes are fixed. The technician who explained everything to us was super detailed.
One stop for lunch at Gate Gourmet
Before lunch, we had scheduled the visit to Gate Gourmet, the airline catering provider.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are all prepared by this well-known company that also has many other companies that operate in Argentina as their customers.
Protected by disposable gowns and coifs, plus shoe protectors we went through the storage of bakery products, ice cream, frozen products, as well as the companies’ tableware and their respective service trolleys from different airlines.
For security reasons we couldn’t take pictures.
We also observed the employees cooking, from peeling a potato to cutting meat, going through the assembly of the dishes according to the class that is flown.
Seven hundred people work at Gate Gourmet in Ezeiza, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week.
Lunch was served in a room of the huge Gate Gourmet building from where we contemplated from a big window the planes taking off, like Air France to Paris.
The menu offered was the Club Cóndor service. The entrée (first course) consisted of a plate of cheeses and dried fruits, accompanied by another plate of green salad with filleted trout. The main course was pasta, chicken or fish option.
In my case I chose the salmon with rice that was really delicious, my husband opted for pasta. And for dessert, ice cream. Of this, pictures could be taken.
Cefepra: Pilot Training and Training Center of the Argentine Republic
At Cefepra we were received for touring this huge building that has seven classrooms for teaching courses and an auditorium for 120 people.
And of course, houses the static simulators and motion simulators (FFS), in addition to the Mock UP simulator.
In a 737-200 airplane is where the aircraft evacuation practices are held. In fact the two slides as well as working overalls are deployed to wear during this procedure.
Also for the practice of opening doors are the A340 doors that I told you were scrapped at the platform.
We were able to visit the Embraer simulator, as well as the A340 / A330, but in the latter it was only a few minutes since training was about to begin.
Finally in Cefepra they reminded us that they offer the “Anímate a Volar (Encourage to Fly)” program for people with fear of flying.
The idea of this free course is to know the training of the pilots, crew and technicians. When the person issues a ticket, a pin of the program is provided and the crew of that flight is notified so that they are more attentive towards these passengers.
Mail to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some final words
I really enjoyed walking around the planes, feeling them so close to us. In addition having the chance of asking and learn more about the backstage of the company, the world’s aviation. Especially for us who fly is a real pleasure.
Aerolíneas Argentinas is a company that was always the pride of the argentines, a company that stands out for the human capital.
I share a one link about the inaugural flight of the fourth Boeing 737-MAX -8 in March 2018, that you can read in the blog:
Thank you very much Aerolineas Argentinas for the invitation and keep flying friends!