On May 28, the regional carrier TACA Airlines brand ceased to exist, as AVIANCA TACA began flying under one single brand, AVIANCA. The change led to the cancellation of 5 routes with direct flights from Costa Rica and the laying off of 261 employees in San José.
Costa Rica’s Tourism minister, Alan Flores, flew to Avianca’s head office in Bogota, Colombia, to get an explanation from the airline. Joining Flores was the Ministro de la Presidencia (and former minister of Tourism), Ricardo Carlos Benavides and Deputy Transport Minister, Ana Cecilia Jenkins.
Following a meeting with Avianca’s president, Fabio Villegas, Flores got assurances that the airline would not cancel any more flights in Costa Rica, nor lay off any more people.
The destinations eliminated from Costa Rica included flights between San José and Los Angeles, New York, Havaca (Cuba), Lima (Peru) and Guayaquil (Ecuador). All five routes provided direct flights. Passengers to those destinations now have to board flights with connections either in El Salvador or Bogota.
Avianca still has more than 1.000 employees in Costa Rica operations