It’s not exactly a merger, but as far as corporate unions are concerned, the closest to one. On Thursday, Colombia’s flagship carrier, Avianca, announced that the shareholders of Avianca Group International Limited will create a new holding company with Declan Ryan, majority stakeholder in Colombia’s low-cost airline Viva, and thereby, preserve the financial autonomy of both companies, yet work together as a “new and solid group.”
The union between the London-registered Avianca Group International and Dublin-based Ryanair DAC will “benefit customers by having a more efficient cost structure that allows even lower prices to be offered, as well as a route network that would promote direct connectivity between destinations, a strong loyalty program and friendly and efficient service according to customer needs,” said Roberto Kriete, president of Avianca’s board of directors.
The majority shareholder of Avianca Group also emphasized that the eventual incorporation of the control rights of Viva’s operations in Colombia and Peru gives Colombia, and Latin America, “a strengthened competitor that would be sustainable over time, making both players continue to be relevant in the Latin American market,” said Kreite.
Avianca released an infographic showing the new corporate structure.
“This is an important day for Viva as it is the perfect scenario to continue with our growth and expansion strategy, maintaining the flag of air inclusion and strengthening our company. Furthermore, if in the future the authorities approve the management of both groups in the same holding company, it will drive the air transport market to continue growing, promoting low fares for users and good service with the best punctuality, giving everyone the opportunity to fly to many destinations around the world,” added Declan Ryan of Viva.
“Likewise, it will be a source of qualified employment generation, providing more and better job opportunities for current and future employees, as well as continuing to positively impact the connectivity of Colombia, the region and the country’s economic development,” highlighted Ryan.
The new Avianca-Viva arrangement could include a code-sharing agreement between Avianca and Ryanair, as well as possible direct flight in the future between Bogotá and Dublin for Europe-bound passengers from South America, with access to Ryanair’s extensive European destinations covered by low-cost fares.