Avianca Drops Chicago and Boston, Reduces JFK

In a sign of further troubles for the Colombian carrier, Avianca announced it will drop Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and Boston (BOS) from its network, and will also reduce its presence at New York JFK. Following the near collapse of Avianca Brasil, the Bogotá-based carrier slashed seven US routes from its hubs in Bogotá (BOG), Guatemala City (GUA), and San Salvador (SAL).

Avianca Boeing 787 Dreamliner Bogota
Avianca Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner seen at Bogotá (BOG). Photo by Sam Roecker for Simple Flying.

Avianca drops Chicago-O’Hare and Boston from network

Avianca is cutting two routes each from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and Boston (BOS). The Colombian carrier has a long history of Chicago operations, inheriting the Chicago (ORD) – San Salvador (SAL) route from its merger with TACA in 2010. Four routes are being cut from three of Avianca’s hubs, according to Routesonline:

Effective May 1, 2019: 

  • Bogotá (BOG) – Boston (BOS) route canceled 
  • Bogotá (BOG) – Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) route canceled 

Effective June 1, 2019: 

  • Guatemala City (GUA) – Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) route canceled 
  • San Salvador (SAL) – Boston (BOS) route canceled 

Both of Avianca’s Bogotá routes – to Boston and Chicago – operated for less than a year. The carrier just launched Chicago to Bogotá in November 2018; and Chicago to Guatemala City in October 2018.

Avianca will also cut the Guatemala City (GUA) – Orlando (MCO) route on June 1, 2019.

Avianca business class 787 Dreamliner
Avianca business class cabin on its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. Photo by Sam Roecker for Simple Flying.

Avianca cuts two routes from New York JFK

Avianca is also dropping two routes to New York JFK in May and June. JetBlue will continue to serve Cartagena (CTG) from New York, now with a monopoly on the route.

Effective May 1, 2019: 

  • Cartagena (CTG) – New York (JFK) route canceled 

Effective June 1, 2019: 

  • Guatemala City (GUA) – New York (JFK) route canceled
Avianca US route network Chicago Boston New York
Avianca is cutting two routes each from ORD, BOS, and JFK. Image by GCMap.

Uncertain future for Avianca Brasil

Brazilian subsidiary Avianca Brasil plans to split into seven units that will auction off separately, according to Reuters. Latin American competitors Gol and LATAM offered $70 million each in a maneuver to shut out Brazilian carrier Azul. Azul previously offered to buy a selection of Avianca Brasil assets worth roughly $100 million.

Chicago loses an important connection to South America

Following the cancellation Avianca’s Bogotá route, Chicago-O’Hare – one of the world’s most connected airports – will have just one flight to South America. United operates a daily flight from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Sao Paulo (GRU) on a Boeing 777-200.

Given the Star Alliance presence in both cities, United may add Bogotá in the future. United currently flies to Bogotá from Houston (IAH) and Newark (EWR) on Boeing 737-700 and Boeing 757-200 aircraft.

American is adding a seasonal flight from Chicago (ORD) to Guatemala City (GUA) this summer, filling the void left by Avianca.