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An Avianca A330 at New York-JFK (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ben Suskind)

Avianca Resumes Operations in Colombia

Avianca announced that on September 1 the carrier will return to the Colombian skies, connecting from Bogotá to destinations such as Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Medellín, Montería, Pereira and San Andrés; From September 7 it will restart operations from Bogotá to Pasto, Santa Marta and Villavicencio, and from Medellín to Cali and Cartagena.

The company will apply strict biosecurity protocols that have already been successfully tested on more than 330 special flights transporting more than 34,380 people.

Operations will begin with only 12% of what was before COVID-19. The carrier expects that demand and the need for connectivity will rise quickly. In the same way, it will adapt its itineraries, routes and frequencies to the extent that the activation scheme designed by the Civil Aeronautics allows it.

The initial fleet for the resumption operations includes 20 aircraft, the Airbus 320 serving the main routes and the ATR72 for the regional operations. During the months on the ground, the entire fleet went into preventive maintenance checks to protect its general condition and ensure its availability.

The company expects that the viability of international flights, recently announced by the Colombian Ministry of Health, will allow the quick opening of the market to other countries that are destinations for Colombian citizens and that the admission of them to these destinations.

Anko van der Werff, CEO of Avianca indicated, “Our commitment is to connect Colombia and that is why the restart of the air operation is a step forward in the economic reactivation of the country. When Avianca flies, not only its customers fly, travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, tour operators and merchants in general fly too. We hope to contribute to our operation so that the entire tourism value chain benefits from this start.”

During the 5 months without operations, the Colombian airline reached destinations that are not part of its commercial networks such as Rome, Paris, Shanghai, Zurich and Brussels. In addition, the carrier transported more than 254,000 tons of cargo that included medical supplies, hygiene items and food to be part of the solution in the middle of this difficult situation.

Ministry of Health Authorizes International Flights in Colombia

In response to a request made on August 19 by the director of Civil Aeronautics, Juan Carlos Salazar, with the aim of resuming the international transport of passengers by air, the Ministry of Health considered yesterday that “the conditions to maintain international flights to and from the country’s major capitals closed”.

 

According to eltiempo, who had access to the document in which the Ministry analyzes the current state of the pandemic in Colombia, given that it is “unlikely” that the arrival of passengers from other countries will significantly increase the transmission of the coronavirus, especially if one takes into account the progressive opening that allows the new phase of the health emergency.

The Ministry of Health points out that a study carried out this year in the U.S. shows that, if biosafety measures are fulfilled (mask and seat in between empty), the possibility of acquiring COVID-19 on a flight of two hours is 0.00013%, that is, one in every 7,700 people.

According to the arguments presented by Civil Aeronautics, 21 of the 26 countries that connect directly with Colombia by air have a lower infection rate than Colombia.

“In consideration of the current state of the pandemic in Colombia, assuming that it is unlikely that flights will increase transmission more than the progressive opening allowed by the new emergency, the conditions to keep international flights closed do not persist anymore,” concludes the document.

Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
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