Colombia Start Ups – Two New Airlines Planned This Year

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Colombia is set to have two new airlines this year. We already know a few things about William Shaw’s Ultra Air, but now a new player has appeared. Meet Starblue Airlines, a carrier that wants to operate six domestic routes and five international. What else do we know?

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Starblue Airlines, a new Colombian startup, will operate Airbus A320 aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Starblue’s hub wouldn’t be Bogota

Colombia’s main hub is El Dorado International Airport in Bogota. Avianca and LATAM use this airport as its gateway to and from the country. Nevertheless, lately, there has been some movement to decentralize the aviation industry in Colombia.

Last week, the low-cost carrier Viva Air announced that it would start operating several international routes from its hub in Medellín. Now, Starblue Airlines aims to do something similar.

Starblue recently asked permission from the Colombian Civil Aviation Authorities (Aerocivil) to operate six domestic flights from two Colombian cities. These are the routes:

  1. Bucaramanga-Cali, with three weekly flights
  2. Bucaramanga-San Andrés, with two weekly flights
  3. Bucaramanga-Santa Marta, with two weekly flights
  4. Cali-Cartagena, with two weekly flights
  5. Cali-San Andrés, with two weekly flights
  6. Cali-Santa Marta, with two weekly flights

Additionally, the airline plans to fly five international routes. Of these, four will be out of Cali and one from Bucamaranga. These are the routes:

  1. Cali-Guayaquil (Ecuador), with two weekly flights
  2. Cali-Lima (Peru), with one weekly flight
  3. Bucaramanga-Panama, with two weekly flights
  4. Cali-Quito (Ecuador), with two weekly flights
  5. Cali-Santiago de Chile, with one weekly flight.
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Many Colombian airlines are decentralizing Bogota as the main hub. For example, Viva Air is using Medellìn as its hub. Photo: Getty Images

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February 25th is the crucial date for many Colombian aviation plans

On February 25th, Aerocivil will have a public audience and will decide the future of Starblue Airlines.

Additionally, on that same date, Aerocivil will discuss Volaris and Viva Aerobus’ plans to enter the Colombian market. The two Mexican low-cost carriers plan to operate flights to Bogota and Medellín.

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Regarding the fleet, Starblue Airlines has said that it most likely will operate with Airbus A320 or Embraer E145/170/195 aircraft.

If Ultra Air and Starblue get their permissions to operate, Colombia could have nine domestic carriers before the year ends. Avianca and LATAM would continue as the country’s key operators; their competition currently is Viva Air, SATENA, CGA, EasyFly, and Wingo.

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Avianca continues as the top player in Colombian aviation. Photo: Getty Images

What do we know about Ultra Air?

The Mexican businessman William Shaw announced last year its intentions of launching Ultra Air, a new low-cost carrier in Colombia.

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Ultra Air is planning to operate from the city of Rionegro, Antioquia. It would use a fleet of either Airbus A320ceo or Boeing 737 MAX 8, as reported by local media sources.

The new airline plans to operate on 29 domestic routes and 14 international.

These are the domestic routes it plans to operate:

  • Bogotá: Medellín (42 weekly frequencies), Cali (35 weekly frequencies), Cartagena (35 weekly frequencies), Santa Marta (35 weekly frequencies), San Andrés (28 weekly frequencies), Periera (21 weekly frequencies), Barranquilla (14 weekly frequencies), Bucamaranga (14 weekly frequencies), Cúcuta (14 weekly frequencies), Riohacha (14 weekly frequencies), Pasto (14 weekly frequencies), Leticia (14 weekly frequencies), and Montería (14 weekly frequencies).
  • Medellín: Cali (17 weekly frequencies), Cartagena (21 weekly frequencies), Santa Marta (21 weekly frequencies), Barranquilla (14 weekly frequencies), Bucamaranga (14 weekly frequencies), Cúcuta (14 weekly frequencies), Riohacha (14 weekly frequencies), Pasto (14 weekly frequencies), Leticia (14 weekly frequencies), and Montería (14 weekly frequencies.
  • Santa Marta: Pereira (14 weekly frequencies).
  • Cartagena: Pereira (14 weekly frequencies) and Cali (14 weekly frequencies)
  • Santa Marta: Cali (14 weekly frequencies)
  • San Andrés: Cali (14 weekly frequencies)
  • Barranquilla: Cali (14 weekly frequencies).

These are the international routes it plans to operate:

  • Bogotá: Mexico City (14 weekly frequencies), Cancún (14 weekly frequencies), Miami (14 weekly frequencies), Santo Domingo (seven weekly frequencies), Quito (seven weekly frequencies), Lima (seven weekly frequencies), Curazao (seven weekly frequencies), and Guayaquil (seven weekly frequencies).
  • Medellín: Miami (11 weekly frequencies), Cancun (11 weekly frequencies), Mexico City (11 weekly frequencies), Guayaquil (seven weekly frequencies), New York (seven weekly frequencies), Aruba (four weekly frequencies), and Punta Cana (four weekly frequencies).

The booming of Latin American startups

If everything goes to plan, we would see seven new carriers in Latin America this year. Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico would have two each, and Ecuador one.

Of the seven new startups, Ultra Air and Ita Transportes Aéreos should have the largest push to consolidate. These carriers plans’ are ambitious.

Meanwhile, the other startups are likely to have a smaller impact in the beginning.

Are you excited about the Latin American startups? Let us know in the comments.

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