Colombian Low-Cost Carrier Ultra Air Suspends Operations

Bloomberg Línea can confirm that the airline will cease operations on Thursday, buffeted by rising fuel prices, the unfavorable exchange rate and a failure to find funding

Ultra Air will cease operations from March 30.
March 29, 2023 | 09:31 PM

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Bogotá — Colombian low-cost airline Ultra Air has notified the Ministry of Transportation that it will cease operations as of Thursday, March 30, Bloomberg Línea can confirm.

The airline’s collapse will be detrimental to hundreds of passengers who have purchased tickets and scheduled trips in the coming days, on the eve of Easter, a peak travel season in the country.

The airline stated that travelers can send an email regarding outstanding bookings to:

Colombia’s Transportation Minister Guillermo Reyes said that “several attempts were made to capitalize and sell the airline, but none prospered. It was an issue that we had been following, we took administrative measures and unfortunately we have just been informed of the suspension of operations of the three airplanes that the company operates”


He added that the ministry has requested Ultra Air supply the list of passengers with scheduled flights. “We are going to demand the rescheduling or cash payment of the tickets, as well as the assistance of other airlines that can support these suspended flights”.

The company, which has already stopped selling tickets through its web page, informed that the adverse macroeconomic situation for the industry, such as the increase in the cost of fuel and the unfavorable exchange rate, generated a substantial increase in costs for airlines, which led to operating at a loss in recent months.

“Additionally, the suspension of operations of the third-largest airline in the country (Viva Air) put industry suppliers and aircraft leasing companies on alert, and who began to demand immediate payments and even prepayments for supplies and services necessary for their operations, which is unusual in this industry,” the airline, which was founded in Antioquia just one year ago, stated.


During its 12 months of operation, the airline transported more than two million passengers and connected the country’s main cities and gained more than 8% of the Colombian air passenger market share, generating more than 1,200 direct and indirect jobs.

Recently, Ultra Air had spoken of the solidity of its investors and the economic backing it had, however, it said Wednesday that despite the efforts made by its investors and requests for support from the government, it is “unable to continue operating and offers apologies to employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are affected by this situation, and reiterates the commitment to work until the last moment to minimize the impact on the people who trusted in this project”.

On Wednesday, Ultra Air had said it would appeal the decision by the country’s vivil aviation authority that conditionally approved the merger between Avianca and Viva Air.

History repeating

On February 27, without prior notice, Viva Air, another of the low-cost airlines operating in the country, and which not only had domestic but also international routes, suspended its operations.


This caused multiple protests at airports in Colombia and abroad, and the support of other airlines to transport the affected passengers. Those measures are still in place.

Regarding the labor situation of the company’s workers, Transportation Minister Guillermo Reyes said that Viva Air has the resources to pay redundancy compensation to all employees.

Avianca-Viva Merger: Failure to Approve Deal ‘Would Lead to Airfare Hikes’