Colombian skies have a new domestic carrier where flight attendants wear sneakers and passengers can buy 2×1 tickets. The launch of Ultra Air with one A-320 aircraft connecting Medellín’s José María Córdova international airport (MDE) with Bogotá’s El Dorado comes after the airline completed 26 verification flights and met the technical, operational and administrative standards of the country’s Civil Aviation’s Air Safety Secretariat.
With the approval to start flying nine domestic routes that compete with another low-cost carrier Viva, owned by Ireland’s Ryanair, Ultra Air’s introductory seat sale offers clients the opportunity to fly for COP$17,200 (US$4) per-route and extra promotion of 2×1 tickets. The start-up will add four more Airbus A320s in coming weeks to meet passenger demand for its domestic destinations.
According to CEO William Shaw, who worked as country manager for British Airways and was a founding stakeholder in Viva Air, Ultra Air is looking to capitalize on 22% of the fast-growing low-cost market in Colombia. “We are here to dynamise the market, create jobs, democratize the commercial air transport and bring more value to the tourism chain value,” he said. Ultra Air expects to move some 2.5 million passengers in its first year of operations in a country, that last year, despite ongoing coronavirus restrictions, transported 30.5 million passengers.
Starting next week, Ultra Air will start flying the following routes: Bogotá-Medellín, Bogotá-Cali, Bogotá-Cartagena, Bogotá-Santa Marta, Bogotá-San Andrés, Medellín-Cartagena, Medellín-Santa Marta, Santa Marta-Pereira, and Cartagena-Pereira.
The low-cost players on routes connecting Colombian cities with international destinations are Viva, Wingo, Spirit, Volaris, JetSmart and JetBlue. The country’s largest airline Avianca has adapted its price model to compete with both domestic and international players by offering tickets on popular routes, among them Bucaramanga, Cali, Medellín and Cartagena, for as low as COP$29,000 (US$8).
Among the novelties of Ultra Air’s first flight is the sporty dress code of cabin crew with white sneakers, grey pants and florescent orange jackets.