More Aviation Drama In Colombia: Jetsmart Jilts Struggling Ultra Air
Just last week, Chilean low cost airline Jetsmart announced that it had signed a letter of intent to purchase Ultra Air, the second airline started by Mexican entrepreneur William Shaw (above). Yesterday Jetsmart announced that it was dropping plans to purchase Ultra, creating even more turbulence in the now very cloudy Colombian aviation market.
The move comes just one day after Colombian civil aviation regulator Aerocivil issued a conditional approval for Avianca to takeover insolvent low cost carrier Viva, but then Avianca issued a statement saying that it was revisiting the potential merger due to changed conditions, such as Viva ceasing operations and losing both planes and employees.
Jetsmart hints that it may “go it alone” and simply wait for Ultra and Viva to disappear, taking the low-cost market for itself, along with Copa subsidiary Wingo.
“Our commitment and confidence in the Colombian market remains firm. As we have affirmed throughout this time, at JetSmart we will continue to focus on meeting the requirements of our certification process, working closely with Civil Aeronautics, who have performed with the highest level of professionalism. In this way, we hope to obtain our Air Operator permit in Colombia, with a view to starting the operation as soon as possible and thus being able to participate in the slot reassignment process at the El Dorado airport,” said Estuardo Ortiz, CEO of the Chilean airline.
This move leaves Ultra Air in a serious position, as creditors and suppliers have tightened terms due to Viva’s collapse. Even Colombian Transportation Minister Guillermo Reyes has expressed concern over Ultra’s situation.
Finance Colombia has reached out to Ultra Air for comment but has received no response.