After more than 2 years away from Colombia’s third largest city, low-cost airline Viva Air inaugurated its return to Cali last week with new flights between Cali and Medellín, Cartagena, and San Andrés. In April, a Cali-Barranquilla route will also begin flying.
With a celebration atmosphere, several dignitaries were on hand, including the mayor of Palmira, Colombia, the Cali suburb where the Alfonso Bonilla Aragón (CLO) international airport is located, to welcome the flight, which included media, Viva Air officials, and many surprised passengers who didn’t realized they had booked an inaugural flight.
“Cali becomes more attractive thanks to Viva.”—Jorge Iván Ospina, mayor of Cali, Colombia
The entry of a low-cost option for travelers from Cali is expected to reduce ticket costs by at least 25%, due to what the airline likes to call “The Viva Effect,” where the airline’s presence forces legacy carriers Avianca and LATAM to reduce prices, while increasing connectivity for the southwest Colombia city. The new routes are expected to carry almost half a million passengers during the rest of 2020.
“At Viva, we know that the most important bet, aside from connecting Colombia, is democratizing the skies so that more people are able to fly and travel within the country,” said Viva Air’s CEO Félix Antelo. “Today we are proud to materialize our strategy, thanks to the official launch of our return to Cali, to contribute to the progress of one of the largest cities in the country, which previously had few travel options for passengers. In this way, we are contributing to the tourism and economic development of our region.”
With these additions, Viva Air now connects 13 Colombian destinations, 11 Peruvian destinations, and Miami, Florida in the United States.
“The return of Viva Air to Cali gives us better connectivity and stabilization of prices that will make us more competitive; bringing not only benefits for the city, but for the whole department. In addition to supporting the economic growth dynamics in the region, this will stimulate tourism business in the entire Valle del Cauca to develop a diversification in its offering, and the creation of more attractive packages for local and foreign travelers who arrive on different flights,” said Valle del Cauca secretary of tourism Julián Felipe Franco. Cali is the capital of the Colombian department called Valle del Cauca, which translates as Cauca River Valley.
- Cali – Medellín will have a promotional opening rate starting at $ 79,900 COP ($24 USD).
- Cali – Cartagena from $ 100,100 COP ($30 USD).
- Cali – San Andrés from $ 131,800 COP ($39 USD).
- Cali – Barranquilla from $ 88,295 COP ($26 USD).
“The return of Viva Air to Cali is extremely important, because through competition it will reduce costs, boost tourism, and facilitate the economy around new visitors,” said Cali Mayor, Jorge Iván Ospina. “Cali becomes more attractive thanks to Viva.”