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The End Is Near: Viva Colombia Grounds Five Aircraft, Waits For Takeover By Avianca To Be Approved
In an unsurprising new chapter of Viva’s crisis, the Colombian airline informed its employees that, due to a lessor’s claim for unpaid fees, five of its aircraft will be grounded and stored in the United States.
«After taking advantage of Decree 560 for the Business Recovery Process, there have been important negotiations with the aircraft owners to reach agreements on how to continue our operations. Despite this, we have been notified by one of them that we must leave five of their aircraft on the ground for the time being until further notice in the United States,» Viva informed its employees in a communication reported by the Colombian media Portafolio.
The withdrawal of these five aircraft from active service will force the company to reschedule its operations as of February 21. The company has been notifying affected passengers during the last week, but not all of them were able to reschedule their itineraries. Viva had already grounded two Airbus A320neo in December.
LATAM Colombia, in view of the delicate situation of Viva’s passengers, made available to affected passengers who purchased their tickets before February 20 the seats it has available between February 21 and 27 on the routes impacted by the rescheduling.
LATAM indicated that it is carrying out this initiative «in order to help protect Viva’s passengers».
Aerocivil moves forward with Avianca integration, but it takes time
While the future of Viva is getting darker and darker, the Colombian aeronautical authority continues to evaluate the integration request submitted by Avianca and the oppositions submitted by other companies to be evaluated, considering what will be the composition of the market after an eventual approval and, of course, to support the expressions of interest of some of these parties for the operation of Viva.
Thus, by means of Resolution 300/2023, Aerocivil informed that Avianca and Viva were submitted to the process and that in addition to the integration request submitted by them, the agency had opened a period in which third parties could submit documentation that could provide useful elements for the analysis of the requested integration.
In those 10 working days Aerolíneas Argentinas, Ultra Air, Wingo, LATAM Colombia, JetSMART and the competition law expert Jorge Enriquez Sanchez Medina (as a private individual) requested to be recognized as third parties.
The integration request, after this resolution, gives Avianca and Viva 15 business days to analyze and answer the third parties’ oppositions. These three weeks of time seem to be a step prior to approval, in the event that Viva and Avianca yield positions and that the concessions satisfy the parties.
Time does not play in favor of Avianca and Viva, and 15 working days seems an eternity for the low-cost airline, which is betting everything on Aerocivil’s approval but has not yet secured it, and at this moment, it seems way too far from that.
This article was originally published by Pablo Diaz on Aviacionline in syndication with AirlineGeeks.
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