Why Now Is The Perfect Time To Launch A Colombian Low Cost Carrier

Ultra Air expects to be the next low-cost carrier to appear in Colombia. The start-up is waiting for the government’s approval of its business plan, but it already sees its future as a disruptor in the Colombian aviation market.

Boeing 737 MAX, Steve Dickson, Recertification
The Colombian start-up Ultra Air expects to fly by the second quarter of 2020. It could use a fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. . Photo: Getty Images

Yesterday, Ultra Air’s founder, William Shaw, talked about the concept of this new airline. He thinks right now is the perfect time to launch a new operator into the market.

How did Shaw launch the airline?

Until mid-2020, William Shaw was the CEO of troubled Mexican low-cost carrier Interjet. Then, in July, Interjet announced a new investment that effectively changed the ownership of the company. Shaw was out of the company soon after.

In an interview with Routesonline, Shaw said,

“I kind of sat around in my house thinking what do I do next and started seeing that there’s a great opportunity for yet another low-cost airline start-up in Colombia. The pandemic will end, there’s hope that we will get a vaccine, and it’s going to take about six to eight months to get certified as an airline. So now is when you got to start planting the seeds, so we start operating by next summer.”

Currently, the airline is still a project. Last week, Shaw (who also launched Viva Air Colombia) met with local authorities. He is expecting the green light from the government, so Ultra Air becomes a reality. If you want to see a render of an Ultra Air aircraft, check out its website.

A once in a lifetime opportunity: the MAX

As we previously reported, Ultra Air is looking at the Airbus A320 or the Boeing 737 MAX as their future fleets.

William Shaw has worked extensively with the European narrowbody. Interjet used to had a fleet of Airbus aircraft, and Viva Air still does. Plus, Airbus holds the largest market share of narrowbody equipment in Latin America. The A320 family holds 78% of the share in the region, Airbus said to Simple Flying.

But the Boeing 737 MAX program offers a unique opportunity.

The FAA recently recertified the MAX, after 20 months on the ground. But the extended grounding period and the COVID-19 crisis have left Boeing with as many as 100 whitetail MAX looking for a new owner. Shaw said,

“I think that only one time in our lives we’re going to see a brand new aircraft with these very, very competitive prices. Boeing wants to get those aircraft out there. They want to get their aircraft flying and regain the market they’ve lost. Boeing is being very aggressive.” 

He went on to add that Ultra Air is in a very peculiar position. The airline can pin the A320 and the B737 MAX against each other and get the best price out of them.

Ultra Air plans
This is the current chronogram of Ultra Air, in Spanish. Photo: Ultra Air.

Where will Ultra Air fly?

Ultra Air expects to be the disruptor of the Colombian aviation market. It will offer airfares 20% lower than the current prices, Shaw said. However, in the true essence of its low-cost origins, it will start with a touristic map route.

Ultra Air is aiming to operate 29 domestic and 15 international routes. The low-cost carrier plans to operate flights to Curazao, Aruba, New York, and Mexico City, for example.

Domestically, Ultra Air plans to operate some traditional routes like Bogota-Cali. However, it also intends to serve underserved routes like Medellin-Pasto.

William Shaw is confident that this route map will allow Ultra Air to grow fast and strong in the first years of operation.

The interview information in this article was originally shared by Routesonline

Are you excited about flying with Ultra Air? Let us know in the comments.

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