American Airlines stops taking payment in Argentine currency

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines says it has stopped taking Argentine pesos as payment for tickets because of limits on its ability to convert the money into dollars.

Airline spokeswoman Martha Thomas said this week that American would try to resolve the issue with the new government of President-elect Mauricio Macri.

American is continuing to operate 27 flights per week between the U.S. and Buenos Aires, more than any other airline, Thomas said. However, customers in Argentina must use foreign credit cards or dollars or other foreign currencies to buy tickets from American.

Under outgoing President Cristina Fernandez, Argentina responded to a shortage of foreign-currency reserves by sharply limiting the amount of dollars that companies could transfer out of the country.

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On Sunday, Macri defeated Fernandez’s favored candidate and will take office on Dec. 10. He campaigned on promises to revive Argentina’s weak economy with free-market policies including the removal of currency controls.

The Argentina dispute is similar to one between Venezuela and foreign airlines. An airline-industry trade group said in June that foreign carriers had $3.7 billion in ticket revenue trapped in Venezuela because of currency controls. Fort Worth-based American, the world’s largest airline, eliminated many flights to Venezuela last year because of the standoff.

American flies to Buenos Aires from New York, Miami and Dallas-Fort Worth.