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Airline and Airport Spotlight: Avianca and Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport


Founded on 05-Dec-1919 and renamed Aerovias Nacionales de Colombia SA (Avianca) in 1940, the carrier is Colombia’s national airline and operates an extensive network of services across North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe from its hub at Bogota El Dorado International Airport.

The carrier also operates from secondary hubs in other Latin American countries including El Salvador and Peru (image: Boeing 787-8 N781AV at Bogota - Reg Natarajan).

Even allowing for the longevity and history, like many airlines, it has seen financially troubled times in recent years. Avianca Holdings has had a tumultuous 2019 that included shareholder upheaval, urgent debt renegotiations and significant changes to its senior management. The company has cut more than 20 unprofitable routes and part of the strategy in 2020 is full leverage of the company’s hub in Bogotá, with a planned 20% increase in international city pairs. The airline has already announced plans to launch service from Bogotá to Asunción and Montevideo, and recently forged new codeshare agreements with GOL and Azul. The airline has been working to shrink its fleet and aimed to phase out its Embraer 190s by the end of 2019, along with its remaining A318s and two A320s.

Avianca's route map (Blue Swan Daily).

Although Avianca’s new senior management has laid out a back to basics plan that includes cutting unprofitable routes, a refocus on its Bogotá hub and the shedding of smaller gauge aircraft, its debt levels remain significant, and balance sheet repair will be an ongoing concern for the future.