In September, Colombian regulator Superindustria (SIC) ordered Chilean airline LATAM to cease selling unauthorized flights to and from Bogotá following a dispute initiated by Avianca in which the Colombian carrier complained that its rival had advertised and sold flights without securing the required permit authorizations from Colombian aviation authority Aerocivil.
In a reversal, however, the Superior Court of Bogota recently revoked these punitive measures and noted that the “Superintendence of Industry and Commerce did not comply with the analysis of all the requirements demanded by law.”
In its decision, the court added that, “in sum, the challenged order will be revoked because the first degree judge did not carry out the rigorous study required for matters of this nature, regarding the assumptions of effectiveness and proportionality of the precautionary measures, except for the first and sixth paragraphs of the resolution, which are not related to this issue.”
LATAM, in response, told local newspaper El Espectador that it “offers and markets flights with slots in compliance with the law and in accordance with the principles and provisions of the aeronautical regulations” and rejected “categorically the accusations made by Avianca and the request for precautionary measures.”
The airline added that Avianca’s accusations were “irresponsible and reckless and seek to limit the participation of other air carriers without taking into account the negative consequences that this brings to consumers.”
The SIC even asked Avianca for a $180,000 million USD bond to alleviate LATAM’s economic losses during the precautionary measures — a sum the Santiago-based airline said was insufficient in the face of the financial blow that the decision had caused the airline.
These takeoff and landing authorizations, known as slots, have long been scarce at the capital’s El Dorado International Airport. However, Aerocivil recently announced a redistribution of slots for the winter season at following the departure of Viva Air and Ultra Air from the market. Avianca, the nation’s flagship carrier, will continue to dominate the nation’s largest airport with an average of 53.35% of the slots, while Latam maintains roughly 21%.