Avianca Launches New Regional Carrier In Colombia

Avianca Holdings is launching a new regional carrier: Avianca Express. This new airline will operate in Colombia with ATR72 aircraft. To begin, Avianca Express has a route map of 15 destinations. Let’s see how it will work. 

Avianca Express
Avianca Holdings is launching Avianca Express, a regional carrier. Photo: Avianca

The regional carrier aims more than one million passengers in 2020

The launch of Avianca Express is a confirmation of the Colombian DNA of the Avianca brand, said Anko van der Werff, the new CEO. It is also a new step in the 100 years of the company. 

Van der Werff also added that it aims to transport more than 1.2 million passengers in 2020 with this new regional airline. 

“We are aware of the urgency of air transport and the connectivity needed in some regions of our country,” he said. 

To do it, Avianca Express will start with a fleet of 12 ATR 72-600 airplanes. These airplanes have a capacity for 68 passengers. 

The vice-minister of Tourism in Colombia, Julián Guerrero Orozco, said that during the last decade Colombia has had enormous growth in air connectivity. He added, 

“Now is the time to strengthen the regional routes. Let’s enable tourism as a development motor in the small and medium cities, by showing their natural and cultural beauty.”

Avianca Express
Avianca Express has 15 destinations to start with. Photo: Avianca

Avianca Express will increase its route map by 30 March

The four main operative hubs of Avianca Express are Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and Bucaramanga. From these four cities, the airline is currently connecting with Cartagena, Corozal, Barrancabermeja, Montería, Quibdó, Armenia, Yopal, Neiva, Popayán, Tumaco, and Pasto.  

But, by 30 March, the airline will add four new destinations: Florencia, Ibagué, Manizales, and Villavicencio. 

Where did the fleet come from?

In 2012, Avianca signed an order with ATR for 15 ATR 72-600. The order was valued at over $700 million USD. 

The South American carrier received the first of its airplanes back in 2013, during the Paris Air Show. Then, Avianca used this plane to serve destinations including Barrancabermeja, Florencia, Manizales, Neiva, Pasto, Popayán, Tumaco and Yopal in Colombia. So, as you can see, it served pretty much the same destinations now operated by Avianca Express. 

The then CEO of ATR, Filippo Bagnato, said that “we are particularly proud to be associated with Avianca, a company with a great reputation and prestige, and to be able to place reliability, comfort, low operating costs and low environmental footprints of the ATR 72-600 at the service of their growth in the region.”

Avianca Holdings has a new regional strategy. Photo: Avianca

Avianca is up and running

So, what do we think about this strategy? Avianca is diversifying its brand once again. After the demise of both brands in Brazil and Argentina, the company is turning the page. 

And we can see the experience Anko van der Werff had in Aeromexico as a turning point for the launch of Avianca Express. As we know, Aeromexico also has a regional carrier, Aeromexico Connect, which connects smaller cities in the country and in the United States with Mexico City Airport. 

The launch of Avianca Express is also a new step in the company. Let’s remember Avianca is up and running since it received a loan of $250 million USD from United and Kingsland Holdings. While there are certain aspects that the airline still has to deal with, as the corruption probe with Airbus, I think Avianca is once again in the driver seat in Latin America.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.