Category Archives: Avianca (Colombia)

Shareholders of Avianca and controlling shareholder of GOL to create Abra Group

Avianca has issued this statement:

The principal shareholders of Colombia’s Avianca and the controlling shareholder of Brazil’s GOL have signed a landmark agreement to create a leading air transportation group across Latin America under a holding company structure named Abra Group Limited. Subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, the Abra Group will control Avianca and GOL and bring together their iconic brands under a single holding.

Through recent investments made by Avianca’s and Viva’s shareholders, the Group will also own a non-controlling 100% economic interest in Viva’s operations in Colombia and Peru as well as convertible debt representing a minority interest investment in Chile’s Sky Airline.

Together, Avianca and GOL will anchor a pan-Latin American network of airlines that will have the lowest unit cost in their respective markets, the leading loyalty programs across the region, and other synergistic businesses. Avianca and GOL will continue to maintain independent brands, talent, teams, and culture while benefiting from greater efficiencies and investments under common aligned ownership.

Abra will provide a platform for the operating airlines to further reduce costs, achieve greater economies of scale, continue to operate a state-of-the-art fleet of aircraft, and expand their routes, services, product offerings, and loyalty programs.

In the aggregate, the airlines under the Abra Group ownership will offer customers the largest network of complementary routes, with minimal overlap, across their markets.

Abra’s financial strength will provide long-term stability and agility to the participating airlines that will allow consistent and sustained investment in innovations and synergies.

Abra Group will be co-controlled by the principal shareholders of Avianca and the majority shareholder of GOL and be led by management with significant airline experience across the region, a long history of entrepreneurship, and a proven track record of growth and successful airline transformations.

  • Roberto Kriete, who will serve as the group’s Chairman, grew TACA in the 1980s into the leading Central American airline before merging it with Colombia’s Avianca Airlines in 2009. He also founded the leading Mexican carrier Volaris in 2006.
  • Constantino de Oliveira Junior, who will serve as the group’s CEO, pioneered Latin America’s low-cost carrier revolution when he founded GOL Airlines in 2001. Together with the acquisition of VRG in 2007 and Webjet in 2011, he led the company’s growth to a market-leading position.
  • Adrian Neuhauser, current President and CEO of Avianca, and Richard Lark, current CFO of GOL, will serve as the group’s Co-Presidents, in addition to maintaining their current roles at the airlines; further details on the Abra management team will be provided at closing.

Abra Group’s management will focus on achieving synergies to ensure the lowest cost structure in each carrier’s relevant market; expanding routes, services, product offerings, and loyalty programs; and developing innovative new products and services that will meet the evolving needs of passengers and air cargo customers in the highly competitive Latin American air transportation market and beyond.

Abra will also ensure that its operating airlines are ESG market leaders by providing enhanced governance as well as the financial strength to continue to invest in a lower carbon footprint fleet, which will significantly accelerate the airline industry’s path towards meeting carbon neutrality targets.

Roberto Kriete, Abra Group’s Chairman, said: “Our vision is to create an airline group that tackles 21st century issues and improves air travel for our customers, employees, and partners as well as the communities in which we operate. Our customers will benefit from access to even better fares, more destinations, more frequent flights and seamless connections, and the ability to earn and use points across the brands’ loyalty programs. They will also be able to enjoy enhanced travel benefits and access to superior products and services.”

Constantino de Oliveira Junior, Abra Group’s CEO, said: “This agreement places Abra’s airlines in a position to lead air travel within the region – serving a population of over one billion and GDP of nearly three trillion US dollars – providing significant opportunities for capacity and revenue growth. Our unique enterprise structure will allow each airline to drive results by maintaining their independent brands, talent, teams, and culture and will provide employees more opportunities for personal and professional growth at every stage of their careers.”

In related news, the majority shareholders of Viva and Avianca jointly announced that Viva will become part of the same holding company as Avianca Group International Limited (Avianca Group) and that Declan Ryan, founding partner of Viva, will join the board of directors of Avianca Group, bringing his decades of aviation experience.

Any transfer of control rights over Viva’s operations in Colombia and Peru by the new holding company will be subject to requesting and obtaining all necessary regulatory authorizations.

Until the receipt of necessary authorizations, control and administration of Viva in Colombia and Peru will be independent of Avianca; Viva will continue to compete with the other airlines within the Avianca Group. Until the authorizations are obtained, customers, suppliers, employees, and relationships for the companies will remain the same; with separate internal and external operations, as well as independent sales channels and customer service teams.

Avianca aircraft photo gallery:

Avianca and Viva Air agree to merge under the same holding company

Viva's new "Boomerang" yellow livery

Avianca and Viva Air jointly issued this statement:

The majority shareholders of Viva and Avianca jointly announced that Viva will become part of the same holding company as Avianca Group International Limited (Avianca Group) and that Declan Ryan, founding partner of Viva, will join the board of directors of Avianca Group, bringing his decades of aviation experience.

Any transfer of control rights over Viva’s operations in Colombia and Peru by the new holding company will be subject to requesting and obtaining all necessary regulatory authorizations.

Until the receipt of necessary authorizations, control and administration of Viva in Colombia and Peru will be independent of Avianca; Viva will continue to compete with the other airlines within the Avianca Group. Until the authorizations are obtained, customers, suppliers, employees, and relationships for the companies will remain the same; with separate internal and external operations, as well as independent sales channels and customer service teams.

In the future, if competent authorities approve a change of control, the shareholders anticipate that both airlines may be part of the same holding company, maintaining their individual brands and strategies.

The decision to unify the economic rights of both groups is made after Covid-19 triggered the biggest crisis in the airline industry, forcing airlines around the world to adapt to new ways of flying and strengthen their operations. The pandemic has awakened countries worldwide to see the need to create solid and sustainable airline groups to guarantee and enhance domestic and international air connectivity and, at the same time, generate value for the consumer.

“This is an important day for Viva as it is the perfect scenario to continue with our growth and expansion strategy, staying true to our goal of inclusiveness in air travel. If the authorities approve the management of both groups under the same holding company, it will encourage the growth of the air transport market, promoting low rates for users and good service with the best punctuality, allowing everyone to fly with a world of destinations. This transaction and a potential future combination will create high-skilled jobs for our employees and our suppliers. By delivering the fundamental good of bringing people together, we will positively impact the connectivity of Colombia, the region, and the economic development of the country”, added Declan Ryan, founding partner of Viva.

Potential approval of a full combination will provide both Avianca and Viva with more financial stability allowing them to accelerate investment, innovation, and growth.

Viva Air Route Map:
Top Copyright Photo: Viva (Air Colombia) Airbus A320-251N WL F-WWBH (HK-5352) (msn 10136) TLS (Eurospot). Image: 951288.
Viva Air aircraft slide show:
Viva Air aircraft photo gallery:

Avianca confirms an order for 88 new Airbus A320neo aircraft

Avianca has made this announcement:

In line with its business plan that includes the operation of more than 200 mostly point-to-point routes and more than 130 aircraft by 2025, Avianca confirmed its commitment to order 88 new A320neo family aircraft from European manufacturer Airbus. The agreement also includes a purchase option for an additional 50 aircraft.

With the arrival of the 88 new A320neo aircraft, which will be gradually incorporated into the company’s passenger fleet between 2025 and 2031, Avianca is committed to continuing offering its customers the highest quality flights, while optimizing its operations thanks to the efficiency and productivity of this aircraft.

The A320neo fleet will have the new cabin configuration defined by Avianca for its A320 aircraft, offering its customers three types of seats: Premium, Plus and Economy. Currently, more than 90 A320 planes in Avianca’s fleet are being reconfigured and 26 of them already have the new Plus and Economy seats. As of May, customers will be able to enjoy the Premium offer and by the end of 2022 the entire fleet will be completely reconfigured. In addition, the use of up to 20% less fuel and the reduction of up to 900 tons of CO2 per year per aircraft will contribute to the sustainability of Avianca’s operations.

The 88 aircraft ordered by the company are in addition to the more than 110 that Avianca has in its passenger operation, the most complete in Colombia and one of the largest in Latin America with a network of 120 routes, more than 3,200 weekly flights and more than 500,000 seats per week connecting customers to more than 65 destinations in Colombia, Latin America and Europe.

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.