BOGOTA - Avianca has announced it will start flying on 1 September in Colombia. It will begin with 14 domestic routes and a fleet of 20 planes.
According to the information, the Colombian carrier, that’s in a Chapter 11 filing in the US, is the first of the three Latin American airlines to start a financial reorganization. Then LATAM and Grupo Aeromexico followed.
Since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Latin America, Avianca has been grounded in its two major hubs, Colombia and El Salvador. The inactivity has profoundly hit the centennial airline.
Meanwhile, the Colombian Government pushed back the reopening date of its airspace since May. As the number of COVID-19 cases in Latin America increased, Colombia kept delaying the date.
But now, the Colombian authorities are at a point where they can no longer ignore the air industry’s needs. Three of the country’s six airlines are in financial reorganization: Avianca, LATAM, and EasyFly. The others are SATENA (a state airline), the low-cost carrier Viva Air and the Copa Airline branch Wingo.
In the first half of 2020, Avianca posted a US$352 million. It also reduced its fleet and presented a furlough program that would keep some workers without a payroll for a year.
Avianca will relaunch its operations with 20 planes flying 14 domestic routes. On 1 September, it will fly from Bogotá to nine cities: Barranquilla, Bucamaranga, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Medellín, Montería, Pereira, and San Andrés.
Then, on 7 September, it will add three more routes from Bogotá to Pasto, Santa Marta, and Villavicencio. It will also fly from Medellín to Calí and Cartagena.
The Colombian airline will operate at a 12% capacity of what it had before the pandemic. It will use its fleet of Airbus A320 for the main routes such as Bogotá-Cali, and it will use its ATR72 fleet for the regional flights.
However, Avianca has not said anything about international operations. The carrier is delaying the restart of its international flights because the Colombian Government has not been very clear about that subject.