As part of the restructuring to seek profitability, faced with a more complex environment for its operation, Avianca announced the suspension of 11 international routes from different cities in which it operates, both in Colombia, Central America and the United States.
According to the parent company, Avianca Holdings, in line with fleet changes and focus on routes with greater demand, starting May 1, 2019, the airline will stop operating on the Bogota – Boston, Bogotá – Chicago, Cartagena – Pereira, Cartagena-New York and, from June 1, will stop operating between Guatemala City and Tegucigalpa (Honduras), New York, Chicago and Orlando, and San Salvador (El Salvador) to Boston, Cali and Cartagena.
In addition, due to the sale of its entire Embraer 190 fleet, the airline will replace the routes previously operated with these aircraft with the Airbus A320neo, which will increase the additional capacity by 56% for each flight.
The Bogotá-Chicago route operated for just eight months since it was inaugurated in October 2018.
The increase in seats will apply for the San Salvador flights to Mexico City, Miami, San Pedro Sula (Honduras), Houston, Tegucigalpa (Honduras) and Panama City, as well as for the Managua-San Salvador, Managua-Miami, Guatemala City-San Salvador and Guatemala City-Miami.
The Colombian carrier has shifted its strategy to focus on profitability from growth.
“We are aware of the impact these decisions have on our clients. We have made bids for new routes in recent years, and we will continue to explore market opportunities, reviewing competitiveness and market demand to resume these operations when it is prudent,” said Silvia Mosquera, Executive Vice President of Avianca.
According to the airline, ticket sales in these segments will remain open for operational flights until the final suspension date (May 1 or June 1 according to the route).
“All passengers with tickets purchased for dates after the suspension date will be contacted by Avianca to provide them with different options that allow them to continue with their travel plans. Most of the passengers who had tickets purchased on the modified routes have been rearranged on other flights,” added the company, which also invited customers to continuously review their ticket status on their website and mobile application.
Effects for Costa Rica
The airline will not cancel any of the routes that operate directly to and from Costa Rica, Avianca confirmed.
However, passengers to and from Costa Rica who have already purchased their tickets on the 11 routes affected will be contacted by Avianca to re-schedule, connecting to their destinations through Avianca’s hubs in San Salvador, Lima (Peru) and Bogota (Colombia).
“To date, more than 80% of passengers who had tickets purchased on the modified routes have been contacted and rescheduled,” the airline said in a statement.
Avianca presented, on July 11, 2018, its new A320neo in Costa Rica, it is an airplane with Costa Rican license plate equipped with 153 seats: 12 in business class and 141 in economy class.
Avianca Cancels Airbus Plane Orders
Earlier this month, Avianca Holdings said it canceled an order of 17 Airbus A320 Neo aircraft and delayed deliveries on 35 others, this would reduce its financial commitments between 2020 and 2022 by US$2.6 Billion.
The Colombian carrier has shifted its strategy to focus on profitability from growth, following in the footstep of rival LATAM airlines, which in recent months has said it was reducing future fleet commitments by US$2.2-billion.
The holding companies of Avianca, United and Copa airlines announced late last year that they would form an alliance to try to expand their reach in the Latin American market, excluding Brazil.
Avianca is separate from Avianca Brasil, a struggling carrier that filed for bankruptcy in December, although they share owners.