Category Archives: Avianca (Colombia)

Avianca announces two new routes between Colombia and the United States

Avianca made this announcement:

In line with its plan to open 50 nonstop routes in 3 years, Avianca announced the launch of 2 new routes and a reactivation that will expand its offer of nonstop flights from the United States to the main cities in Colombia improving tourism and economy in the two countries.

Routes and itineraries*:

Flight

Route

Frequency

Departure

Arrival

Beginning

AV0065

New York – Cartagena

Daily

4:40

8:50

March 28th

AV0203

Orlando – Medellín

Martes, jueves y sábado.

19:20

22:00

March 29th

* Itineraries subject to government approval

“Our 100 years of history drive us to continue offering the best travel options. Today, we combine that legacy with a solid commercial strategy of competitive prices so that customers in the United States can easily travel to the most attractive destinations in Colombia”, said Rolando Damas, General Director of Avianca for North America and the Caribbean.

Avianca will also reactivate the Miami-Cartagena route, linking two of the main tourist destinations on the continent. The flights * between these cities will be:

Flight

Route

Frequency

Departure

Arrival

Beginning

AV0147

Miami – Cartagena

Daily

18:20

20:05

March 27th

On some flights on the new routes, Avianca customers will be able to enjoy 2 of the new seats that the company has presented: Plus and Economy; and as of May 2022, the Premium offer will be available so that travelers can enjoy tailored made flights, with an offer of differentiated seats and in a completely renovated cabin.

In 2021, Avianca inaugurated 17 new point-to-point routes throughout its network to provide more and better connectivity to its customers. With the new operation and reactivation, Avianca will add more than 10,000 seats per month to its offer.

Avianca introduces a “Disney Encanto” logo jet on N939AV

Avianca has unveiled a “Disney Encanto” special livery on Airbus A320-214 N939AV (msn 4939).

Avianca plans to emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization before the end of the year

Avianca (Costa Rica) Airbus A320-233 N493TA (msn 2917) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955533.

Avianca has announced that following its submission of additional documentation that had been requested by the United States Court for the Southern District Court of New York– the Court has confirmed Avianca’s Plan of Reorganization­*i. The Company expects to successfully complete its court-supervised reorganization and emerge from Chapter 11 before the end of the year as a more efficient and financially stronger airline, well positioned for long-term success.

Upon emergence, the Company will have a solid balance sheet, with significantly reduced debt and over $1 billion in liquidity. Avianca’s restructuring will enable the Company to continue repositioning and simplifying its business, re-establishing as the carrier of choice in Latin America by adopting more competitive pricing for clients, reconfiguring aircraft with best-in-class modern seating, expanding network routes both domestically and internationally, refinancing its aircraft portfolio and obtaining long-term financing commitments. Avianca will keep the airline’s differentiating and competitive assets, which include a robust network, one of the best loyalty programs, VIP Lounges, signature services and one of the most competitive cargo solutions in the region.

Business Plan:

Avianca’s updated business plan impacts all facets of operations – the destinations Avianca will serve, the aircraft Avianca will operate, and the way Avianca will serve customers – to build on its leadership position and drive its future success.

Notably, the business plan projects:

  • A financially viable and stable airline;
  • Higher network density with a passenger fleet of more than 130 aircraft flying over 200 largely point-to-point routes by year-end 2025, with expanded service across Latin America as demand fully recovers;
  • A leaner cost structure providing both better pricing and more direct service, while enabling growth into new markets; and
  • Continued growth of the air cargo and LifeMiles loyalty businesses, building on the Company’s already well-established market positions.

Avianca’s Business Vision Milestones:

Over the course of 2021, Avianca has made significant progress on its new business vision in three key areas: strengthening its network, redesigning products and enhancing services. Certain milestones that the Company has already successfully achieved include:

  • A stronger network: Announced 23 new point-to-point routes in strategic markets for 2022, including ColombiaEl SalvadorGuatemala and Costa Rica. Avianca plans to operate more than 100 new routes in the next three years. 
  • Cabin reconfiguration: Incorporated more seats to offer more competitive prices and increase the number of passengers carried. The capacity of each aircraft will be increased by up to 20%.
  • Tailor-made service bundles: Provided customers with better flexibility to manage their flights and services so they only pay for what they really need.
  • Better self-service: Strengthened online customer service, its chat service “Vianca” and digital channels so that passengers can manage their trip more easily from the mobile application and Avianca’s website.
  • A rewarding LifeMiles program: Introduced a new mileage accrual model and more benefits for loyalty program travelers.

Top Copyright Photo: Avianca (Costa Rica) Airbus A320-233 N493TA (msn 2917) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955533.

Avianca (Costa Rica) aircraft slide show:

Avianca (Costa Rica) aircraft photo gallery:

Avianca to restart international operations from Colombia

Avianca will gradually resume its international operations from Colombia on September 28, 2020 and will increase flights to different destinations, after the respective authorizations.

Initially, the company will operate to 16 international destinations from Bogota and Medellin:

  • September 28: Flights from Medellin to Miami and New York.
  • October 1: Operations from Bogota to Guayaquil, Quito, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Miami and New York.
  • October 15: Flights to Cancun, Guatemala City, La Paz, Punta Cana, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Santiago de Chile, San Salvador, Santo Domingo and Washington

The initial fleet for the international operation will be 34 aircraft, including Airbus A319s, Airbus A320s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners. During these months, the entire fleet underwent preventive maintenance checks to protect its general condition and ensure its availability.

During this time, Avianca implemented biosecurity protocols with the highest standards to give its travelers the confidence to fly again. These protocols were successfully tested on more than 400 special flights carrying more than 45,500 people seeking to return home. In addition, the company reached new destinations from Bogota such as Rome, Paris, Shanghai, Zurich and Brussels.

Avianca aircraft photo gallery:

 

Avianca Holdings S.A. files motion for approval for approximately $2.0 Billion in Debtor-in-Possession financing

Avianca Holdings S.A. has  announced that it has secured commitments for debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing totaling just over US$2.0 billion and has filed a motion to approve the financing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

The DIP financing – inclusive of rollups of existing debt and purchase loan consideration – is expected to be approximately US$2.0 billion, consisting of a US$1.27 billion Tranche A senior loan and a US$722 million Tranche B subordinated loan. The DIP financing includes approximately US$1.217 billion of new funds consisting of US$ 881 million in Tranche A and US$ 336 million in Tranche B.

On August 28, 2020, as part of syndicating the Tranche A DIP loan, the Company entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement (“RSA”) with an ad hoc group of holders representing a majority of Avianca’s 2023 senior secured notes who will provide US$ 290 million in new funds (inclusive of US$ 63 million of backstop) and roll up US$ 220 million of their existing notes into Tranche A.

US$240 million of the Tranche A financing has been structured as a backstop commitment, to allow for the eventual participation of one or more governments.

The US$722 million Tranche B DIP loan includes US$336 million of new money financing, as well as a rollup of approximately US$386 million of secured convertible debt issued in December 2019 and January 2020 (the “Existing Convertible Debt”). The new money financing was provided by certain of the Existing Convertible Debt lenders, including Kingsland Holdings S.A, as well as third-party investors; certain other Existing Convertible Debt lenders, including United Airlines, participated solely in the Tranche B loan rollup by refinancing their Existing Convertible Debt.

The DIP loans are secured by Avianca’s key assets (including the Company’s ownership stakes in its LifeMiles and cargo subsidiaries, as well as by its key brands and cash accounts). Both tranches are secured by a lien on all available collateral, with Tranche B subordinated in right of repayment to Tranche A. The collateral pool for these DIP financings was recently substantially increased via a series of agreements previously announced by Avianca.

The financing is subject to U.S. Court approval, with a hearing scheduled for October 5, 2020, and other customary conditions.

Avianca aircraft photo gallery:

Avianca Holdings S.A. issues statement on Government of Colombia financing commitment and Colombian Court injunction

Avianca Holdings S.A. has issued a statement regarding the commitment from the Government of Colombia to participate in the Company’s expected debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing, following the injunction issued by the Administrative Court of Cundinamarca. Avianca commented as follows:

Avianca reiterates its gratitude to the Republic of Colombia for its continuing support and commitment to participate in the Company’s debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.  Avianca’s DIP financing, which is supported not only by the government of Colombia but also by the Company’s existing lenders and by more than 90 additional third-party institutional investors, is critical to sustain Avianca’s operations, maintain connectivity throughout Colombia, and help support the country’s economic recovery.

Avianca looks forward to presenting information to the Colombian courts in the coming days, alongside information being presented by the government of Colombia, that will demonstrate that participation by the Republic of Colombia in the Company’s debtor-in-possession financing is a beneficial transaction for the country. The transaction has been structured in a way that provides substantial collateral support as well as attractive economic returns to the Republic that are equal to those of other senior secured private institutional investors, and ahead of certain other key stakeholders and third-party lenders in a US$ 700 million subordinated loan.

We expect to file our DIP motion with the US Bankruptcy Court in the coming week and are confident that the Colombian courts will authorize the Colombian government to move forward with funding in a timely manner.

Avianca Holdings S.A. to receive debtor-in-possession financing and Government of Colombia financing commitment

Avianca Holdings S.A. today issued a statement regarding the Company’s expected debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing, following the announcement by the Republic of Colombia’s Ministerio de Hacienda y Credito Público (the Finance Ministry) that the management committee of the country’s Fondo de Mitigación de Emergencias (“FOME”, the Emergency Mitigation Fund) had approved the government’s participation in Avianca’s DIP financing, through a commitment of up to US$370 million in the proposed loan structure, side by side with private market investors. Avianca commented as follows:

We are pleased that the Government of the Republic of Colombia will participate in the Company’s DIP financing and express our gratitude for the confidence and support this commitment demonstrates.

As we previously disclosed on August 13, 2020, Avianca’s DIP loan financing is expected to consist of two tranches that include approximately US$1.2 billion of new funds as part of a US$ 2.0 billion overall financing facility (including rollups of existing debt and purchase consideration) which will allow the Company to finance its operations during the pendency of its Chapter 11 reorganization. In addition to the Colombian government committing to participate in the DIP loan -by providing approximately 30% of the new funds, or 20% of the total DIP financing- we are also very pleased with the positive reception the DIP loan structure has received from third-party institutional investors that, along with existing lenders, are expected to provide a substantial majority of the DIP loan financing.

Based upon the substantial indications of interest received to date, we are confident in our ability to complete the syndication process and finalize documentation within the next week.  We look forward to filing shortly thereafter a motion to approve the financing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which motion will set forth our full DIP financing package, with approval expected during the month of September. The DIP loan, which will be secured by Avianca’s key assets (including the Company’s ownership stakes in its LifeMiles and cargo subsidiaries, as well as by its key brands and cash accounts) will contain certain conditions precedent to be satisfied prior to drawing those funds.

Avianca Holdings files for Chapter 11 reorganization, Peru to be shut down

Avianca Holdings, the parent of Avianca, has made this announcement:

Avianca Holdings S.A. and certain of its subsidiaries and affiliates on May 10, 2020 filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to preserve and reorganize Avianca’s businesses. LifeMiles™, Avianca’s loyalty program, is administered by a separate company and is not part of the Chapter 11 filing.

The filing was necessitated by the unforeseeable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in a 90% decline in global passenger traffic and is expected to reduce industry revenues worldwide by $314 billion, according to the International Air Transport Association. Avianca’s scheduled passenger operations have been grounded since mid-March, reducing its consolidated revenue by over 80% and placing significant pressure on its cash reserves.

Through the Chapter 11 reorganization process, Avianca intends to:

  • Protect and preserve operations so Avianca can continue to operate and serve customers with safe and reliable air travel, under the strictest biosafety protocols, as COVID-19 travel restrictions are gradually lifted;
  • Ensure connectivity and drive investment and tourism by continuing as Colombia’s flagship airline, serving over 50% of the domestic market in Colombia and providing essential non-stop service across South America, North America and European markets as well as continuing cargo operations, playing a key role in the economic recovery of Colombia and the Company’s other core markets following the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Preserve jobs in Colombia and other markets where the Company operates, with Avianca directly responsible for more than 21,000 jobs throughout Latin America, including more than 14,000 in Colombia, and working with more than 3,000 vendors; and
  • Restructure the Company’s balance sheet and obligations to enable Avianca to navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as comprehensively address liabilities, leases, aircraft orders and other commitments.

“Avianca is facing the most challenging crisis in our 100-year history as we navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anko van der Werff, Chief Executive Officer of Avianca. “Despite the positive results yielded by our ‘Avianca 2021’ plan, we believe that, in the face of a complete grounding of our passenger fleet and a recovery that will be gradual, entering into this process is a necessary step to address our financial challenges.”

“When government-mandated air travel restrictions are lifted and we are able to gradually resume our passenger flights, we look forward to welcoming back our furloughed employees and playing a leading role in restarting the economy in Colombia and our other key markets. We greatly appreciate the dedication of our employees to Avianca and to serving the more than 30 million passengers that fly our airline each year. We remain committed to our purpose to connect people, families and businesses. Our customers can be confident that they can continue to depend on Avianca for safe, reliable and high-quality service, and our valued LifeMiles™ members can expect to accrue and redeem miles as normal,” Mr. Van der Werff continued.

Avianca – like many other airlines around the world, including in the United States, the European Union, and Asia as well as in Latin America – is seeking financial support from the governments of the countries where it provides essential services. Avianca continues to be engaged in discussions with the government of Colombia, as well as those of its other key markets, regarding financing structures that would provide additional liquidity through the Chapter 11 process and play a vital role in ensuring that the Company emerges from its court-supervised reorganization as a highly competitive and successful carrier in the Americas. In the interim, while these discussions are ongoing, the Company intends to utilize its cash on hand, combined with funds generated from its ongoing operations (such as cargo), to support the business during the court-supervised reorganization process.

Mr. Van der Werff added, “We believe that a reorganization under Chapter 11 is the best path forward to protect the essential air travel and air transport services that we provide across Colombia and other markets throughout Latin America. Avianca has operated for more than 100 years – only the second airline in the world to achieve this milestone. We are confident that through this process we can continue to execute our ‘Avianca 2021’ plan, optimize our capital structure and fleet of aircrafts and – with government support – emerge as a better, more efficient airline that operates for many more years.”

Measures to Protect Employees and Suppliers

As part of the process, Avianca has presented various motions before the Court in support of its reorganization and the Company expects the court to decide on these requests in the coming days. The Company has requested authority to pay certain prepetition employee wages, compensation and benefit obligations owed from before the filing date, as well as a request to continue paying wages and honoring employee benefit programs in normal day-to-day operations. Avianca has also requested authority to honor various prepetition obligations owed to certain of its travel agency partners, vendors and suppliers from before the filing date. The Company intends to pay vendors and suppliers, as well as travel agency partners in the ordinary course for goods and services provided on or after the filing date during its Chapter 11 process.

Continuing to Serve Customers

Avianca has also filed motions to maintain its network and customer programs throughout this process and customers can expect to continue to arrange travel and fly with Avianca in the same way they always have. Customers can expect to use tickets, vouchers and gift cards purchased before Avianca initiated this process. Avianca customers will continue to accrue miles when they fly with Avianca, and can continue to redeem miles earned through LifeMiles™ to purchase tickets with Avianca during this process. Additional frequent flyer benefits remain active, including access to VIP Lounges, priority check-in, upgrades and other benefits. Avianca also expects to continue to issue ticket refunds and honor travel coupons and payments or credits associated with baggage or service claims in adherence with our current policies. Given the impact COVID-19 has had on travel plans, Avianca will continue to waive change fees and other penalties associated with changes to customers’ travel plans for tickets purchased until October 31, 2020.

When COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted, Avianca plans to resume passenger flights with the strictest biosafety protocols.

“Avianca 2021” Plan and COVID-19 Impact

Last year, Avianca successfully launched the “Avianca 2021” plan, and throughout 2019 and in the first two months of 2020, the Company had achieved significant positive results from this plan. Through the plan, the Company redesigned its network with 130 routes to 76 destinations in 27 countries, adding to the launch of a new pricing model “branded fares” in domestic markets in Ecuador and Colombia, including flights to and from Europe. These initiatives, along with customer-centric programs, had resulted in improved operational indicators, with a passenger-itinerary-completion rate of 98.7 percent and a 6-point increase in customer satisfaction. Consistent with the plan, in early 2020 the Company concluded a successful out-of-court reprofiling of its financial debt and lease obligations and raised $375 million in new financing.

However, just as is the case with other airlines around the world, Avianca’s operations have been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting government-mandated air travel restrictions, while the Company continues to have high fixed costs. Of the total number of countries in which Avianca operates, 88 percent have total or partial passenger air transport restrictions, forcing the airline to take a series of extraordinary and structural measures. These have included employee furloughs, temporary wage reductions, reductions in non-essential capital expenditures and temporary deferred payments on long-term leases. Avianca has limited visibility as to when current travel restrictions will be lifted and, once such restrictions are lifted, it does not expect revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels in the short-term as the effects on travel are expected to be long-lasting. These factors, coupled with Avianca’s substantial financial obligations, made it necessary for Avianca to explore alternatives to reorganize its operations and restructure its debt.

Peru Operations

In parallel to its Chapter 11 filing in the U.S., Avianca intends to commence a wind-down of its operations in Peru pursuant to local laws. This decision supports essential right-sizing efforts and will allow Avianca to renew its focus on core markets upon emergence from its court-supervised reorganization.

Chapter 11 Process and Advisors

The Chapter 11 process is a well-established legal process in the United States of America that is recognized by other countries around the world. The process is a temporary one that, according to U.S. law, allows a company to reorganize and complete a financial restructuring under the supervision of the U.S. court system, while continuing its operations under the oversight of its board of directors and management team. Many companies, including many airlines, have used the Chapter 11 process to reorganize their financial obligations and emerge as stronger organizations. Avianca itself underwent a Chapter 11 process in 2003 that allowed it to position itself for expansion in Latin America.

To best position Avianca to successfully complete the Chapter 11 process, the Company’s Board of Directors has retained world-class advisors, including Seabury Securities LLC and FTI Consulting, which are serving as financial advisors to Avianca, as well as Milbank LLP, Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, Gómez-Pinzón Abogados and Urdaneta, Vélez, Pearl & Abdallah Abogados, which are serving as legal counsel. The Company’s Board of Directors has also been advised by Willis Towers Watson, an independent compensation consultant, in the establishment of best-practices retention programs for certain employees who are essential to the Company’s Chapter 11 reorganization.

Avianca (Colombia) aircraft photo gallery:

Avianca starts Boeing 787 all-cargo flights

Avianca has made this announcement:

Amid the extraordinary situation facing the world by the spread of COVID-19, Avianca Cargo is providing uninterrupted freight transport service now with the support of aircraft and passenger crew, to contribute to the supply of food, medical equipment, toiletries, and medicines. Early today, a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, dedicated to passenger transport, made its first cargo flight, carrying nearly 20 tons of essential goods on each journey in its “belly.” With this flight, the cargo operation has already been transported 15,000 tons in the means of the crisis.

The flight took off at 01:30 local time in Colombia, with 4 pilots being part of Avianca and landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport at 07:30 hours. The cargo was carried at the bottom deck of the aircraft, the section dedicated to this purpose.

To operate this flight full of cargo, but with empty seats, it was necessary to take additional measures for the care and protection of onboard and ground personnel. The company established protocols to minimize physical contact, as well as provided cleaning kits and protective items to employees, antibacterial gel, gloves, and digital thermometers to the crew and staff members who have contact and are exposed to the public. Also, it has delivered alcohol and towels for cleaning keyboards and accessories in the offices and carried out additional disinfection work in bathrooms and offices of the cargo terminals.

Avianca Cargo currently has six Airbus A330-200F freighters, plus five aircraft from its affiliated company AeroUnion, three A300-600s, and two Boeing 767-200s. The fleet of this operation serves the international market covering Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Miami, Madrid, Brussels, and major Latin American cities.

From March 16 to the 22 alone, Avianca Cargo mobilized more than 6 million kilograms of cargo. Of this volume, 600 tons were food such as fish, fruits and vegetables, and another 250 tons of medicines, medical equipment, and toiletries. These volumes were achieved thanks to the operation of 138 freighter flights, of which 3 were charter service, supplemented by the capacity of the bellies of 720 passenger flights before the operation was restricted.

Avianca aircraft photo gallery:

Avianca suspends international operations, reduces domestic operations, grounds 132 aircraft

Avianca (Colombia) made this announcement:

As is public knowledge, most countries around the world have closed their borders, limiting mobility for domestic and foreign passengers in the region. This situation directly affects Avianca’s capacity to maintain its operation.

Therefore, starting at 00:00 hours on March 23, all international operations will be suspended and domestic operations in Colombia will be reduced by 84%. These decisions are complicated and painful for Avianca and its employees whose main purpose is to connect passengers to and from Latin America. Below are details of the actions that will be implemented:

1. Complete suspension of the international operation and reduction of domestic operation in Colombia by 84%: 

As of March 23 at 00:00 hours and until April 30, Avianca will fully suspend its international operation.  The domestic operation will include service from Bogota to capital cities and some regions. The above will be subject to the evolution of the situation, availability and willingness of clients to travel and additional measures that may be taken by local and national governments that affect the operation.

Therefore, flight scheduling may change on a daily basis and passengers will be informed when this happens. Avianca will inform changes through the Covid-19 website and other channels: Avianca Escucha @AviancaEscucha, email, Whatsapp for clients of the Diamond and Gold loyalty program and Avianca News Center.

The company will also be forced to ground 132 aircraft: 22 wide-body, 100 narrow-body and 10 ATRs. Avianca will use 5 Airbus A320s and 5 ATRs for its domestic operation.

2. Labor Measures

This unprecedented global situation for the airline industry requires difficult and immediate decisions as a result of the reduction of its operation. The following measures will be implemented starting today:

  • Hiring freeze.
  • Implementation of voluntary unpaid leave.
  • Negotiation of payment conditions with suppliers and partners.
  • Extension of non-essential costs and capital expenses.

3. Financial measures: cost control, savings and suspension of investments:

All investments, expenses or projects not tightly linked with maintenance and the domestic operation, as well as travel and events, will be suspended. Additionally, Avianca is negotiating with various partners to decide upon next steps.

“This is, without a doubt, the greatest crisis for the airline industry in history. The decisions we are taking not only hurt us, they are extremely difficult, but we must be flexible and face the situation. The full suspension of our international operation and the strong contraction of domestic demand, forces us to send most of our employees home. It is time for regional governments to take exceptional measures that mitigate the social and economic impact affecting hundreds of industries. If we want to reconnect Latin America and preserve the more than 20.000 jobs we create, we will need joint cooperation and collaboration of industry stakeholders and above all, the support and cooperation of governments”, said Anko van der Werff, President and CEO of Avianca Holdings.

During this situation, Avianca has cooperated with governments and embassies for foreign nationals in Colombia and other countries to return to leave the country and return home.

Avianca aircraft photo gallery: