Q24N – Viva Air, Colombia’s indebted low-cost carrier, temporarily suspended operations as it awaited a ruling by Colombia’s civil aviation authority on its proposed merger with Avianca
This Tuesday, uncertainty and indignation reigned in the main Colombian airports, as passengers left stranded in airports across Colombia as a result of the suspension began protests and blockades inside airport terminals. Transport Minister Guillermo Reyes said other airlines were working to get them to their destinations.
Viva Air said late on Monday it had halted ticket sales and grounded its entire fleet after the regulator allowed five other airlines including Aerolineas Argentinas and JetSMART to take part in the merger process.
They had argued they would be affected by Viva Air’s integration with Avianca, Colombia’s flag-carrier. Low-cost carrier JetSMART and regional giant LATAM Airlines have both expressed an interest in buying Viva Air.
Viva Air’s financial difficulties stem from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, worsened by rising fuel prices in 2022 and the depreciation of Colombia’s peso.
The civil aviation authority’s “unprecedented decision will result in further delays in reaching a decision, for which Viva is forced to announce, unfortunately, the suspension of its operations with immediate effect,” Viva Air said in a statement.
Viva Air, which was created in 2009, is headquartered at the José María Córdova international airport in Medellín and has 35 internal routes and to Argentina, Brazil and Peru, among other countries.
After learning the news of the cancellation of operations, Aerocivil issued a statement ensuring that it will ensure “especially respect for the rights of affected users.”