Avianca Airlines (NYSE: AVH, BVC: PFAVH) announced this afternoon that as of March 23, the carrier will completely suspend its international operations. The domestic operation will continue at 16% of capacity from Bogotá to certain destinations within Colombia. “This will be subject to the evolution of the situation, the availability and willingness of customers to fly and the additional measures that may be taken by local and national governments that affect the operation at the national level,” the airline said in a statement.
Avianca stock has fallen over 90% in the past month.
Avianca also indicated to passengers that the flight schedule may change daily and passengers will be informed when this happens. Avianca will report the changes through its Coronavirus Covid-19 website (click here)
Fleet grounding: From operating 142 aircraft to 10
The airline, already under significant financial duress, announced that it is forced to ground 132 aircraft: 22 wide-body, 100 narrow-body and 10 ATR turboprop regional craft. It will keep 5 Airbus 320 and 5 ATRs active, destined for domestic operation.
The airline has also implemented a hiring freeze, voluntary unpaid leave, layoffs, and seeks to renegotiate terms with suppliers. Additional measures include the deferral of non-essential costs and capital expenses, cost control, savings and suspension of “any investment, expense or project that is not closely related to domestic maintenance and operation, as well as travel and events.”
“This is without a doubt the biggest crisis in the airline industry in history. The decisions we are making, they hurt, they are extremely difficult, but we must be flexible and face the situation. The total suspension of our international operation and the strong contraction of the domestic one force us to the majority of our employees go home. It is time for the governments of the region to take exceptional measures that mitigate the social and economic impact that affects hundreds of industries. If we want to reconnect Latin America and preserve the more than 20,000 jobs that we generate we need the cooperation and collaboration of all industry players and especially the support and cooperation of governments,” said Anko van der Werff, president and CEO of Avianca Holdings.