With a major investment that Avianca is calling the largest in its history, the Colombian airline this week announced plans to invest $473 million USD to add 16 new aircraft and an expanded service to 30 destinations this year.
The additional flights and service will lead to an increase of 1,200 jobs as well as 600 more “indirect jobs,” according to Avianca. Some of the hiring will include former employees of Viva Air, which went out of business after a merger with Avianca fell apart earlier this year, according to Reuters.
The new planes, which belong to the Airbus A320 line (reportedly including 14 Airbus A320 NEO and two Airbus A320CEO models) that already makes up the vast majority of Avianca’s fleet, are planned to help expand service to 20 locations in Colombia and 10 international destinations.
Specifically, the Bogotá-based carrier stated it plans to make the following schedule changes throughout the higher-traffic end-of-year calendar:
- San Andrés: The island tourist getaway will now receive 53 flights per week (from Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali), an increase from the current 30
- Villavicencio: The capital of Meta where connectivity has suffered greatly since a earthquake disrupted a key roadway in August, will now have two daily flights from Bogotá instead of just one flight
- Riohacha: The capital of La Guajira will now have 28 weekly flights from Bogotá, up from the current 20
- Leticia: The capital of Amazonas will now have 18 weekly flights, up from the current 10 operations
- Pasto: The capital of Nariño will now have 42 weekly flights, up from the current 25
- Ipiales: The Nariño city near the border of Ecuador will now have on daily flight, up from the current schedule of four flights per week
Medellín, Cali, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Pereira, Santa Marta, Cúcuta, Bucaramanga, Montería, Valledupar, Armenia, Barrancabermeja, and Ibagué will also “benefit from more flights and more seats” in 2023 following the new investment.
In terms of international destinations, Avianca has identified the following locations as places that will see an increase or addition of service: Boston, Curacao, Fort Lauderdale, Guatemala City, Guayaquil, Orlando, Panama City, Punta Cana, San Salvador and San Juan.
The major move from Avianca comes on the heels of two significant low-cost carriers — Viva Air and Ultra Air — exiting the market in Colombia, leaving a gap in offerings over the past year.
“Now, we double our commitment and add more people to our operation, more capacity with more planes, more seats, and more connectivity to help Colombia recover and strengthen,” said Adrian Neuhauser, CEO of Avianca, in the investment announcement.
Photo: An Avianca Airbus A320. (Credit: Avianca)