|AUSTRAL Compañía Argentina de Transportes Aéreos Comercial e Industrial' (as it was orignally named) was created in 1957 under the auspices of the 'Sociedad Anónima Importadora y Exportadora de la Patagonia'. It started operating from Aeroparque to the Argentine South in January 1958 with Curtiss C-46 aircrafts, as well as with special cargo flights to Miami (USA). In June 1961, the merger with ALA (Aerotransportes Litoral Argentino) began and 'Ala y Austral S.A.' was created and they started operating jointly. In 1971 the merger was completed under the name 'AUSTRAL LINEAS AEREAS S.A.'
The first Curtiss were replaced by Douglas DC-6 and in 1967 a fleet modernization took place: the BAC-111 and Japanese Nihon YS11 arrived.
In 1978, the DC-9 series 50 were added and in 1979 the YS-11 were retired and sold to LAPA.
In the early 80’s, the first MD-80s arrived making Austral one of the first airlines flying this aircraft. Firstly, Austral received three MD-81s. The first two MD-80s arrived in 1991 and the third one in 1992 but after a short period of time, it was transferred to Aerolineas Argentinas, returning to Austral in March, 2005.
Around 1980, Austral (AU) was nationalized and, together with Aerolineas, were granted the monopoly of the domestic routes in Argentina. However, in 1985, it was privatized. It was acquired by 'Cielos del Sur S.A'. In 1982, during the 'Malvinas' war, Austral flew to the islands with BAC-111s transporting people and cargo. In 1990, the Spanish airline Iberia and Cielos del Sur constituted a consortium that won Aerolineas Argentinas privatization process and from that moment on, a gradual merger between Aerolineas and Austral began.
In the 90’s, the Company called 'Inter-Austral' was created. It operated Casa 235 aircrafts the first hub of which was the city of Cordoba. It served the airport of Mendoza, Rio Cuarto, San Rafael, Tucuman, Salta, Jujuy and Rosario. In the late 90’s, the Casa aircraft started operating from Buenos Aires.
In the 90’s, the BAC-111s were replaced by eight Douglas DC-9-32, with a capacity of 105 seats which were later replaced by Boeing 737-200 (108 passengers) that arrived from Air France in the late 90’s.
In 2001 both Companies were almost bankrypt, therefore they were sold to Grupo Marsans. In June and October 2004, due to a fleet modernization and expansion policy, arrived two MD83 from the bankrupt company Flying Finn. Nowadays, the Company operates different types of the MD aircraft, mainly MD-81/83/88s. Afterwards, so as to save on spare parts and training, eight Boeing 737 were transferred to Aerolineas Argentinas and six MD 83/88 to Austral.
Currently as a member of the 'Grupo Aerolineas Argentinas', Austral Lineas Aereas’ fleet comprises 18 MD-80 series which will be gradually replaced by Embrear aircrafts as of September 2010 in order to serve domestic and regional destinations and comply with the Company’s idea of a whole fleet of the same type of aircraft. Nowadays the Company has begun a nationalization process intended to fix certain deficiencies from the previous managements and enhance the Company’s market position so as to recover its main role in the national and regional market taking full advantage of its 50 years of experience.