LONDON – Colombia’s aviation market is set for a change in its market. The national airline Avianca is set to work together with the ULCC (Ultra Low-Cost Carrier) Viva, formerly known as Viva Colombia.
These two airlines will be sharing management.
The two airlines will be joining the same holding, and Viva’s founder Declan Ryan will be part of the board.
Both airlines will be responsible for different aspects of the operation.
Avianca will be responsible for the operational and financial side of both airlines, meaning Avianca and Viva, including Viva’s Peruvian and Colombian subsidiaries, providing approval has been granted obviously. Until the approval has been granted, both airlines are going to be operating as separate airlines.
“This new and robust group of airlines will benefit customers by using a more efficient cost structure to offer lower fares, a route network that delivers direct connections between destinations, a strong loyalty program, and friendly and efficient service,” Avianca’s main shareholder and chairman Roberto Kriete said.
Avianca vs Viva
Avianca is the national carrier of Colombia.
They started flying in December of 1919 and grew to be one of the region’s biggest airlines, up until COVID broke out in 2020 when they had to halt most of their operations.
They filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy not long after, on May 10th of 2020, and exited chapter 11 in December of 2021.
Viva Colombia is the youngest of the two airlines, starting in September 2009, when they were founded by Declan Ryan.
Ryan is one of the co-founders of Ryanair and is currently serving on the executive board of Viva. Although the Colombian airline Viva is not legally affiliated with the Mexican VivaAerobus, they were both parts of the same group, namely Irelandia Aviation.
Even though Avianca went under a chapter 11 bankruptcy, they have resurrected with a renewed business plan to make sure they can keep up with the competition from the low-cost airlines.
While Avianca was struggling to stay alive, Viva was doing good business. So good in fact that they have expanded their fleet and their operations, getting a stronger footprint in the international and the national market.
They have been doing so well that they have announced plans to enter the Brazilian market, with flights from Medellin (MDE) to São Paolo/Guarulhos (GRU) starting in June.
At the same time, Viva will also start operating flights from MDE and BOG to Argentina’s Buenos Aires Ezeiza Airport (EZE).
Consequences for the country
The country will see many consequences, however, they will be to the advantage of both the customers as well as the airlines, as combining their forces means that they can cut unnecessary costs on both sides, reducing the total costs for both airlines, thereby reducing the ticket prices.
“This is an important day for Viva as it is the perfect scenario to continue with our growth and expansion strategy, staying true to our goal of inclusiveness in air travel,” Viva founding partner Declan Ryan said.
“If the authorities approve the management of both groups under the same holding company, it will encourage the growth of the air transport market, promoting low rates for users and good service with the best punctuality, allowing everyone to fly with a world of destinations.”
The management of Avianca has confirmed to Routes Online that both airlines will retain their individual brands, despite being part of the same holding. “Potential approval of a full combination will provide both Avianca and Viva with more financial stability allowing them to accelerate investment, innovation, and growth,” the statement added.