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An Avianca 787 Dreamliner coming in to land. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Colombian Airlines Announce New Routes

A year after the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic and the quarantines that stopped air travel worldwide, generating millions in losses for the entire industry, several Colombian airlines have launched new routes in order to get up from what has widely beocme considered to be the worst crisis the commercial aviation has faced in its history.

According to larepública, LATAM Airlines Colombia and Wingo are the carriers that have launched the most new routes so far this year, adding five and four, respectively.

In the case of LATAM, at the restart of its operations in September 2020, the carrier operated only nine destinations. Currently, in advancing in its recovery plan, it already has activated 14 destinations connected by 24 distinct routes

“Supported by the reorganization process in which the companies of the LATAM group in the United States are under the protection of Chapter 11, this will allow us to have lower and more efficient operating costs,” said Santiago Álvarez, president of LATAM Colombia.

Likewise, Wingo, which had to suspend its 22 routes due to the pandemic, already has its entire network active except for two routes: one flight between Bogota and Caracas, Venezuela, and another from Bogota to Curaçao.

“We have added three new national routes from Bogotá to Medellín, Cali and Santa Marta, thus tripling our offer of chairs. In addition, we added a new flight between Medellín and Cancun,” Carolina Cortizo, general director of Wingo, said in a statement.

For its part, Avianca operates more than 40 domestic routes in Colombia in addition to more than 15 international ones, with around 800 frequencies totaling some 110,000 weekly seats. Recently, the airline launched domestic routes between Pereira and Santa Marta, Pereira and Cartagena and San Andrés and Cartagena.

“On the international side, in July we will start direct flights on the Medellín-Cancun and Medellín-Punta Cana routes,” said Silvia Mosquera, commercial vice president of Avianca Holdings, in a separate statement.

Additionally, Viva Air reactivated its 26 routes and inaugurated two new routes in the domestic market: Medellín to Bucaramanga and Medellín to Cúcuta.

“In June we will begin operations of four new international routes: Medellín-Cancun, Medellín-Orlando, Medellín-Mexico City and Bogota-Mexico City,” Viva Air Commercial Director Juan Diego Zapata said in a statement, adding that last month the airline grew its total available seats by 30% to 2019.

At the beginning of 2020, Colombian low-cost carrier Easyfly operated 44 routes that connected a network of 30 cities. “To date, we have recovered 86% of our routes,” said Isaac Herrera, the airline’s product manager.

Despite the almost universal relaunch of service, Avianca believes the increase in flights going forward will largely depend on the evolution of the pandemic, since in recent weeks restrictions in several cities have undoubtedly impacted the movement of passengers for the purpose of tourism.

In the first three months of the year, LATAM Airlines Colombia reached 85% of its operational capacity and transported more than one million passengers. Easyfly estimates that it stopped moving 1.5 million passengers due to restrictions. However, for the second quarter of 2021, the company projects 100% recovery at its destinations. Viva Air announced that in the last month it flew with an average load factor of 80%.

Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
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