|Founded||December 5, 1919 as SCADTA|
|Airport lounge||Avianca VIP Lounges|
|Parent company||Avianca Holdings S.A.|
|Operating income||COP 2.8 B (FY 2009)|
|Total assets||COP 2.403.632 M (FY 2008)|
Avianca S.A. (acronym in Spanish for "Aerovías del Continente Americano S.A." )(Airways of the American Continent) is the national airline and flag carrier of Colombia, since 5 December 1919, when it was initially registered under the name SCADTA. It is headquartered in Bogotá, D.C. with its main hub at the El Dorado International Airport. Avianca is also a trademark comprising a group of seven independently IATA-coded and -owned Latin American airlines, whose operations are combined to function as one airline using a code sharing system. Avianca is the largest airline in Colombia and second one in Latin America: Avianca together with their subsidiaries has the most extensive network of destinations in Latin America and one of the largest and most modern aircraft fleets on the continent. It is wholly owned by the Synergy Group S.A., a Latin American holding company established by Germán Efromovich and specializing in air transport. it's listed on the Colombia Stock Exchange.
On 7 October 2009, it was announced that Avianca would merge with TACA. In 2009 Avianca reached their 90th anniversary and is the world's second oldest airline still in operation (behind KLM); Avianca is the oldest continuously operating airline in the Western Hemisphere.
On 21 June 2012, Avianca was introduced as an official member of Star Alliance after a process that lasted for around 18 months since their initial announcement of being invited in joining the Alliance.
The airline traces its history back to 5 December 1919, in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia. Colombians Ernesto Cortissoz (the first President of the Airline), Rafael Palacio, Cristóbal Restrepo, Jacobo Correa and Aristides Noguera and Germans Werner Kämerer, Stuart Hosie and Alberto Tietjen founded the Colombo-German Company, called Sociedad Colombo-Alemana de Transporte Aéreo or SCADTA. The company accomplished their first flight between Barranquilla and the nearby town of Puerto Colombia using a Junkers F.13, transporting 57 pieces of mail. The flight was piloted by German Helmuth von Krohn. This and another aircraft of the same type were completely mechanically constructed monoplanes, the engines of which had to be modified to efficiently operate in the climatic conditions of the country. There were nine aircraft in the fleet with a total range of 850 km (528 mi) (525 Mi) which could carry up to four passengers and two crewmen. Due to the topographic characteristics of the country and the lack of airports at the time, floats were adapted for two of the Junkers aircraft to make water landings in the rivers near different towns. Using these floats, Helmuth von Krohn was able to perform the first inland flight over Colombia on 20 October 1920, following the course of the Magdalena River; the flight took eight hours and required four emergency landings in the water.
Soon after the vision of the founding group had become a reality, German scientist and philanthropist Peter von Bauer became interested in the airline and contributed general knowledge, capital and a tenth aircraft for the company, as well as obtaining concessions from the Colombian government to operate the country's airmail transportation division using the airline. This new contract allowed SCADTA to thrive in a new frontier of aviation. By the mid-1920s, SCADTA, having overcome many obstacles, inaugurated its first international routes that initially covered destinations in Venezuela and the United States. Regretfully, in 1924, the aircraft that both Ernesto Cortissoz and Helmuth von Krohn were piloting, crashed into an area currently known as Bocas de Ceniza in Barranquilla, causing their deaths. Despite this tragedy, the airline continued to thrive under the guidance of German Peter von Bauer until the early 1940s, where circumstances related to the outbreak of World War II forced him to sell his shares in the airline to the US-owned Pan American World Airways.
On 14 June 1940, in the city of Barranquilla, SCADTA, under ownership by United States businessmen, merged with Colombian Air Carrier SACO, (acronym of Servicio Aéreo Colombiano), forming the new Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia S.A. or Avianca. Five Colombians participated in this act: (Rafael María Palacio, Jacobo A. Corea, Cristobal Restrepo, Aristides Noguera) and German citizens Alberto Teitjen, Werner Kaemerer and Stuart Hosie, while the post of first President of Avianca was filled by Martín del Corral. There had been decades of dedicated work and contribution to Colombia's development through actions, among which the following may be highlighted:
In 1994, a strategic alliance was established to merge three of the most important enterprises of the aeronautical sector of Colombia: Avianca, the regional carrier SAM and the helicopter operator Helicol, which brought life to Avianca's new system of operations. This system offered specialized services in Cargo (Avianca Cargo) and postal services, as well as the most modern fleet in Latin America made up of: Boeing 767–200, Boeing 767–300, Boeing 757–200, McDonnell Douglas MD-83, Fokker 50 and Bell helicopters.
This new system covered the following destinations:
By 1996, Avianca Postal Services evolved into Deprisa, providing express mail services through its products Deprisa and Deprisa Empresarial, traditional mail, certified mail, shipment airport-to-airport and P.O. boxes.
On 10 December 1998, Avianca announced the inception of a new "connections center" in Bogotá, offering around 6,000 possible weekly connecting flights and an increased number of frequencies, schedules and destinations, taking advantage of the privileged geographical location of the country's capital, for the benefit of Colombian and international travellers between South America, Europe and North America.
In addition to its Avianca Connection, and alliance partnerships, Avianca offers frequent flyer partnerships with the following airlines:
After a rigorous and complex process, the worldwide aviation industry came through after the September 11 attacks. Avianca, the regional carrier SAM Colombia and its major rival ACES Colombia, joined efforts to create Alianza Summa, which began merged operations on 20 May 2002. These three airlines decided to strategically merge their strengths, to offer a more efficient service, with concerns to quality, quantity, security and competition in a new struggling marketplace. However, adverse circumstances within the industry and markets, forced the alliance to disband and airline shareholders decided to initiate the liquidation of Alianza Summa in November 2003, to focus in strengthening the Avianca trademark. These decisions resulted in the liquidation of ACES Colombia altogether and the acquisition of SAM Colombia, as a regional carrier under Avianca's system.
On 10 December 2004, Avianca concluded one of the most important and ambitious reorganization processes, undertaken after filing for 'Chapter 11' bankruptcy protection, by obtaining confirmation of its reorganization plan, which was financially backed by the Brazilian consortium, OceanAir/Synergy Group and the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, allowing the airline to obtain funds for US$63 million, in the 13 months following withdrawal from C-11.
The plan, with the support of 99.8% of the voting creditors and which obtained the majority endorsement of the Creditors Committee, will enter into force once the Company emerges from bankruptcy. In accordance with United States laws, the administration has the trust obligation to consider any other investment proposal until the final term expiration stipulated. Notwithstanding, such an offer, besides being better than the one that has been approved by Avianca's domestic and international creditors and confirmed today by the Court, must be final, i.e. fully financed and backed with non-reimbursable cash deposits or equivalent mechanisms. Likewise, such proposal must be binding. As known, the only investment that complies with these requirements is that of OceanAir/Synergy Group and the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, which already makes part of the reorganization plan already voted favorably, by the creditors and confirmed by the Judge.
Synergy Group is an evidenced, credit-worthy Brazilian entrepreneurial conglomerate. Its strength lies in the oil sector, building, installing and offering maintenance to offshore oil platforms; it is currently carrying out exploration work in Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. Other businesses include: the extraction of gas in the United States, naval construction, telephony infrastructure, hydroelectric power plants, communications and a hydrocarbons marine exploration company, which extends throughout nine countries, with more than 5,000 workers.
It also owns and operates OceanAir, which services around thirty cities in Brazil, as well as VIP, an airline in Ecuador, Taxi Aero, a charter airline in Brazil and the recently acquired Wayra, in Peru, as well as Turb Serv, dedicated to the maintenance of turbines.
In 2009, OceanAir and VIP Ecuador will be rebranded as Avianca, to consolidate as one airline, following the ambitious expansion plans of the airline.
The merger of Colombia's Avianca and Salvadoran-based TACA is the latest sign that consolidation in the Latin American airline sector is picking up.
The newly formed Holdco – which will be controlled jointly by Avianca and TACA – instantly becomes one of the region's largest airlines after Brazil's TAM and GOL, with 129 aircraft and flights to more than 100 destinations.
In November 2009, the airline's Chief Executive Fabio Villegas announced that the airline is looking to replace its Fokker 50 and Fokker 100 aircraft with newer aircraft of 100 seats or less. The 10 Fokker 50s and 15 Fokker 100s are currently operated on flights shorter than one-and-a-half hours. Aircraft manufactured by Brazil's Embraer, Canada's Bombardier Aerospace and the Airbus A318 are being considered for the replacement.
In January 1, 2011, The airline made the decision to retire the Fokker 100 aircraft in 2011 and replace them with 10 Airbus A318 leased from GECAS. The aircraft will be delivered during February to April 2011.
On 10 November 2010, Star Alliance announced Avianca (and its merger counterpart, TACA) to become full member in mid-2012. Due to Avianca's entry into Star Alliance, it has ended its codeshare agreement with Delta Air Lines and began a new codeshare agreement with United Airlines. TACA had been codesharing with United Airlines since 2006. On June 21, 2012, Avianca and TACA were both officially admitted into Star Alliance.
Avianca and TACA changed their image to the Avianca brand on May 28, 2013 in order to have only one brand in the aviation industry. Avianca has been facing controversy during late 2013 and early 2014 mostly in Colombia due to several delays on their flights.
Avianca's hubs are in Bogotá at El Dorado International Airport, in San Salvador at Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport and in Lima at Jorge Chávez International Airport . Its focus cities are: Medellín, Cali, Cartagena, Barranquilla, San José and Quito as well as Miami, where Avianca is the largest foreign carrier by number of passengers. The airline covers 87 destinations in 22 countries.
|Company||№ of destinations||Coming destinations||Notes|
|Avianca||69||–||Main article: Avianca destinations|
|Avianca Brazil||23||–||Main article: Avianca Brazil destinations|
|Avianca Ecuador||9||–||Main article: Avianca Ecuador destinations|
|Helicol||?||–||Main article: Helicol destinations|
|Avianca Cargo||20||–||Main article: Avianca Cargo destinations|
Avianca launched their new LifeMiles programme in 2011, replacing the old AviancaPlus system for frequent flyers. The levels include Silver, Gold and Diamond, replacing the old AviancaPlus Basic, AviancaPlus Gold, AviancaPlus Platinum, and AviancaPlus Platinum Executive levels. The new LifeMiles system also incorporates TACA passengers' flights, unifying the two rewards systems as a result of Avianca's recent merger with TACA.
Cargo Codeshare Agreements
|ATR 42-500||4||—||—||—||50||50||4 aircraft are to be sold|
|Airbus A319-100||34||8||—||12||108||120||6 fitted with Sharklets|
|Airbus A320-200||58||4||—||12||138||150||6 fitted with Sharklets|
|Airbus A321-200||8||3||—||12||182||194||5 fitted with Sharklets|
||First delivery scheduled for 2018 to Avianca Brazil.|
|Boeing 787-8||2||13||5||28||222||250||Three new deliveries scheduled for December 2014.
The airline suffered a few incidents during the 1980s and early 1990s. The deadliest of those incidents was Avianca Flight 203, which was bombed in 1989, following orders from Pablo Escobar to kill presidential candidate César Gaviria Trujillo. In the aftermath, it was found that Gaviria had not boarded the aircraft. Only one successful bombing has occurred in the airline's history, while most other gang related incidents were related to hijackings or shootings on board. In most hijackings, all passengers and crew members, unaffiliated with the hijacker's cause, were immediately released.
Other incidents include:
Avianca's current headquarters is on Avenida El Dorado and between Avenida la Esmeralda and Gobernación de Cundinamarca, located in the Ciudad Salitre area of Bogota. The building is located next to the Gran Estación. The current headquarters, which opened in 2009, is a 46 meters (151 ft) tall, 34,536 square meters (371,740 sq ft) building with a 13,800 square meters (149,000 sq ft) glass façade and a shading coefficient of 0.71% to allow natural air and lighting in the floors of the building. The first floor has stores and a parking area. Its previous head office was at Avenida El Dorado No. 93-30.
Nosotros no podemos perder la oportunidad de tener en Bogotá ese gran centro de conexiones. Y por supuesto, que lo haga la compañía bandera de Colombia, que es Avianca. Eso lo tiene que explicar el Gobierno a la opinión pública clara y paladinamente, sin malicias, sin cartas escondidas, y salir a defenderlo y decir por qué hay que hacerlo.
Desde ningún punto de vista puede abrigarse duda alguna acerca del carácter eminentemente privado de la empresa Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia AVIANCA S. A. La prueba por excelencia en este caso, como es el certificado expedido por el Secretario de la Cámara de Comercio de Barranquilla así lo determina (fls. 2 a 10). En él se lee que la empresa se constituyó por escritura pública número 2374, otorgada ante Notaría Segunda de Barranquilla, el día 5 de diciembre de 1919, registrada en el Juzgado Tercero del mismo Circuito, llamada inicialmente Sociedad Colombo – Alemana de Transportes Aéreos -SCADTA-.
SCADTA Junkers F 13, one of the first commercial airlines in Colombia. SCADTA (now known as AVIANCA) is the oldest, continuously operating airline in the Western Hemisphere.
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