Colombian national flag carrier Avianca is set to join forces with Brazilian low-cost airline Gol through a new codeshare agreement. By joining forces with Brazil’s domestic market leader it will allow Avianca to further expand its network in South America’s largest market place.
This new codeshare agreement follows in the footsteps of a similar agreement Avianca made with another Brazilian airline, Azul just a few weeks earlier. The tie-up with São Paulo based Azul allowed Avianca access back into the Brazilian marketplace following the dissolution of Avianca Brazil earlier this year.
Avianca has been working on the Gol deal for some time
“It’s something we have been working on for quite a while. This is fantastic news, especially for consumers, to connect three strong economies in South America – Columbia, Peru and Brazil.”
According to Avianca’s director of alliances, Ana Maria Copete, the Star Alliance member’s network will expand by “more than 60 destinations both ways”.
In a bid to bring the problem-ridden Colombian airline back to making a profit, it is in the process of implementing a turnaround plan. The airline has changed ownership, restructured its debt and brought in a new management team to oversee the changes.
Avianca’s new boss brings plenty of experience
Heading up that team is industry veteran Anko van der Werff, who has plenty of experience having worked for KLM, Qatar Airways and Aeromexico.
In an attempt to increase revenue Avianca is looking to optimize its hub at Bogota El Dorado Luis Carlos Galan Sarmiento International Airport (BOG), with new destinations on high yielding routes.
Despite having only been in the job for three short months, Van der Werff says that Avianca needs to strike a balance between north and south by taking advantage of its location at the heart of the Americas.
“Bogota is really well-positioned to connect North and South America, right in the middle and right down the center,” he says, going on to add that the airlines focus will be on international routes rather than domestic.
Earlier this month Avianca talked about adding a flight to the Paraguayan capital Asuncion and the re-launching of flights to the Uruguayan capital Montevideo. The Dutchman also hinted at more new routes to come, saying, “there’s at least three or four more coming in 2020.”
Avianca is working on a deal with United and Copa Airlines
Looking northward, Van der Werff said that Avianca is working on a three-way joint venture with Chicago based United Airlines and Panama’s Copa Airlines.
“You do these things for a reason,” van der Werff says. “We will file for the joint venture, but let’s also be fair, we also needed a bit more time to make sure that we did not file something that in the end needed to change drastically. What we have been making sure the last few months is that we are absolutely clear what kind of footprint and participation will we really have.”
During recent discussions with its prospective partners, the question of whether or not Brazil would be a part of the agreement came up.
“I have seen joint ventures work all my life, I am a big believer in joint ventures, and it’s just a matter of time before we file and start getting the goodies from this joint venture.”
The former Aeromexico boss seems to have a good understanding of Avianca’s problems, despite being in the job such a short time, when he talks about overcapacity saying:
“We are definitely taking capacity out. We grew too much and we grew too fast, so we are now taking matters into our own hands.”
Avianca has the youngest fleet of aircraft in Latin America with an average age of 6.7 years.
The fleet comprises nine Airbus A318s, 14 A319s, 40 A320s,11 A321s, eight A330s, 11 ATR 42/72s, and 14 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.