The low-cost carrier Viva Air continues its international growth after filing permission to operate two direct flights between Colombia and Argentina. These two new routes are part of Viva’s big plan to create the ‘Hub Medellin.’ Let’s investigate further.
Which routes are Viva Air looking for?
This week, Viva Air filed a permission with the Civil Aviation National Authority in Colombia (Aerocivil). The airline is looking for authorization to fly from Medellín to Buenos Aires and Córdoba.
Viva Air is looking for one daily flight on both routes. If the carrier were to obtain permission to operate these routes, it would increase its international connectivity by nearly 30%. The low-cost airline currently flies these international routes:
- Medellín Miami.
Plus, it expects to operate these new routes shortly:
- Medellin Cancun (on June 2)
- Bogota-Mexico City (on June 2)
- Medellin-Mexico City (on June 8)
- Medellin-Orlando (on June 8).
On May 27, 2021, Aerocivil will do a public audience in which Viva Air will present the viability of these Argentinian routes. Given that Aerocivil has authorized more than 30 new international routes in the last year, we expect Viva Air to be the next player in the Argentinian market.
The ‘Hub Medellin’
Viva Air seemingly wants to become the low-cost Copa Airlines in Latin America. The Panamanian carrier uses Tocumen International Airport in Panama City to distribute traffic throughout the region. Copa is the epitome of the hub-and-spoke model.
Viva Air has similar dreams, albeit using a low-cost strategy. The Colombian city of Medellin, like Panama City, has a unique geographical advantage. It allows for non-stop connectivity with most of the continent, using narrowbody aircraft.
Last month, Simple Flying spoke with Viva Air’s CEO, Felix Antelo. He said,
“You have airlines doing hub and spoke, but you don’t have low-cost airlines doing that. So being able to be able to fly on a low-cost ticket, paying $200 or $300, going from Lima to Cancun round trip with tax included, you don’t get that in the market, and we will be able to do that with Viva while being profitable because of our low-cost base.”
Now, regarding the new Argentinian plans, the airline told us,
“The routes from Medellin to Argentina are part of a route pool that we’ve evaluated under the scope of our great project ‘Hub Medellín’. This project puts Medellin as a privileged city to reach the whole American continent as the main connection hub. Additionally, these are just two of the nearly 15 routes we’re planning for the next three years.”
Felix Antelo said that they’re analyzing every mid to big city in South America as possible destinations. He pointed out to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, La Paz, Asuncion, Quito, Guayaquil, and obviously Buenos Aires and Córdoba.
A low-cost hub and spoke airline?
It does sound odd, doesn’t it? Low-costs are more of point-to-point airlines. Nevertheless, Viva Air is convinced that it can gain market share by joining North and South America through Medellin.
Viva Air will compete directly with Copa Airlines, but also with other carriers like Avianca and LATAM.
And the airline will do it using its brand new A320neo fleet. By 2025, Viva Air expects to have a fleet of 50 airplanes.
Are you excited about Viva Air’s plans? Let us know in the comments.