Spanish airline Air Europa will begin operating a daily route this month between Madrid and Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport. According to top executives at the Majorca-based carrier, the inaugural flight will take off on June 28 and represent a milestone in its plans to add more than a dozen intercontinental routes to its departure list.
The 5,000-mile flight will depart Bogotá each day at 8 pm while the daily return flight will leave the Spanish capital at 3 pm (local time), according Richard Clark, the airline’s commercial general managing director. This new route is one of the first in a planned expansion into the Americas that will eventually include 16 more cities.
“Colombia is living one of the most important moments in its history and Air Europa wants to be a part of that new Colombia which is set to become one of the leading countries in Latin America,” said Alberto Caldera Castell at an April event in Bogotá to formally announce the new route. “The arrival of Air Europa, from the coming 28th of June, will contribute towards this beautiful country becoming a [hub for] passengers, tourists, investment and, of course, a greater link between the two countries.”
Though it is celebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2016, Air Europa is still a small airline. It operates 58 aircraft, including an Airbus 330 and 787 for long-haul routes. The company has also recently procured two new Boeing 787s and has plans to add another 20 by 2021.
The newest will be used exclusively for the Colombia route and feature 22 business class seats and 274 in coach. According to Clark, using the Boeing 787 will cut 45 minutes off the flight time the company now averages on flights to the Americas. “We are sure that the bet that we have made in the company was quite right,” said Caldera.
Air Europa’s entry to the market is just the latest in a series of new planes flying the friendly Colombian skies. In 2015, the nation added 57 new routes, including two from Delta, and El Dorado International Airport in the capital built a new tower to manage the extra traffic. Turkish Airlines introduced an Istanbul-to-Bogotá flight in 2016 that will depart three times per week. And the incumbent regional giants — Avianca, Copa, and LATAM — are only continuing to grow despite having to confront troubling economic conditions throughout Latin America.