The Colombian airline Avianca said that “at the moment” there are no changes in its operations in Costa Rica, as the airline continues in its process of a “strong adjustment”, that has forced the closure of some routes, reduce its aircraft fleet and sell subsidiaries.
“Directly in the Costa Rican operation there is no modification at the moment, the flights that are operated directly from the country to Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Bogotá and Lima, Peru, are maintained,” Avianca said.
The airline added that, of the payroll adjustments throughout the operation, “so far they have not implied direct changes in the operation in the country.”
Right in the middle of this transformation, Anko van der Werff, the new president and CEO of Avianca, visited Costa Rica at the end of last month, and met with Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado.
The meeting was held on Tuesday, August 27, and the objective of the meeting was to present the head of the Colombian airline, who is currently leading the financial changes in the company.
Van der Werff, in an interview with the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, on the meeting with the Costa Rican president and about possible closures and route openings, said:
“Well, cold minded. Latin Americans are exceptionally friendly, warm, wonderful, but sometimes very emotional. For now, cold-minded. I met with President Duque (Iván, from Colombia), with President Alvarado, from Costa Rica The two, very warm people, who recognize the importance of having good air connectivity.”
From Casa Presidencial in Costa Rica, with respect to the meeting, in a statement it said, “No change was discussed, as the visit was intended to for Mr. Van der Werff to introduce himself.”
Van der Werff confirmed to El Tiempo that there was also no particular request at this meeting and that at the meeting were also María Amalia Revelo, Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism; Rodolfo Méndez, Minister of Public Works and Transportation; Guillermo Hoppe, director of Civil Aviation; and Rafael Mencía, executive president of Aeris (the San Jose airport manager).
“No, we did not make any specific request of the government (of Costa Rica) and it was very understanding and supportive of Avianca, in this process of Transformation in which the company is in,” said Van der Werff.
Avianca maintains in Costa Rica a payroll of some 1,000 workers, as it detailed on Tuesday, September 3, this down from the 1,052 it had at the beginning of the year.
In its report of September 1, Van der Werff told El Tiempo, “Avianca is not going to die in my hands”.
In its ‘transformation’, Avianca’s aim is to reduce its size, refinance its debt, sell off part of its fleet, cancel unprofitable routes, create others with a better future, but it will not die.
Avianca’s total debt is about US$5 billion dollars, including the capitalized value of aircraft leases.