After investing $50 million USD two years ago to fuel Colombia-based international low-cost carrier Viva’s rapid growth, Cartesian Capital Group has offered a vote of confidence by becoming a minority shareholder in Viva Group, along with global low-cost airline developer Irelandia Aviation.
The investment is seen as a vote of confidence as the aviation industry navigates the global COVID-19 pandemic. While larger airlines like Avianca and Latam fell into bankruptcy reorganization, Viva directly renegotiated over 200 contracts with suppliers and lessors in order to reduce general costs and payment terms, to align the company’s obligations with the reality of not being able to operate regular flights from March to September last year, and the continued reduced capacity of airports.
Led by CEO Felix Antelo (above photo), Viva has emerged through the pandemic actually capturing market share, going from 15% to 24% of Colombia’s commercial aviation market, and boasts a 95% on-time rating, despite Colombia’s busiest airports suffering capacity challenges. The airline now has more international routes and more employees than before the COVID pandemic. Over the next 15 months, the carrier expects to take delivery of an additional 10 Airbus A320neo aircraft.
“Cartesian has been a valued partner since 2019 and this is a tremendous vote of confidence in our business model and our team, which have seen Viva emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever,” said John Goode, Partner at Irelandia Aviation.
Private equity firm Cartesian Capital has participated in the development of several international airlines, such as Flybondi in Argentina, and Gol in Brazil, and almost 50 other companies within the sector. Cartesian reports $3 billion USD assets under management.
“Even in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, Viva has shown great resilience,” said Peter Yu, Cartesian CEO. “Felix and the entire team have consistently demonstrated the agility, creativity and tenacity that make Viva a world-class airline. We look forward to the continued growth and success of Grupo Viva.”
“Viva found opportunities in challenging and crisis times, adapting to new ways of managing this complex business. Today we can proudly say that, with the commitment of our employees, the evolution of our strategies, and the support of our suppliers and lessors, we have consolidated our position as the leading low-cost airline to / from and within Colombia and Peru. I would like to thank the entire management team and staff of Viva, along with our suppliers, lessors, government agencies and banks for their continued support,” responded Viva CEO Félix Antelo. “Additionally, we are pleased to announce the addition of Cartesian as a minority partner for Grupo Viva. Your investment is a timely vote of confidence in our work, business and future.”