Bogotá — Colombian low-cost airline Ultra Air, which has reduced its operations due to its critical financial situation, will appeal the decision by the country’s vivil aviation authority (Aeronáutica Civil) that conditionally approves the merger between Avianca and Viva Air, Bloomberg Línea has learned first-hand.
The appeal will be filed as a third party interested in the case, and which is subject to both reconsideration and appeal.
Likewise, three other airlines that are also third parties interested in this operation, Latam Airlines, Wingo and Aerolíneas Argentinas, are analyzing how the conditions imposed by the aviation authority would materialize in order to make a decision as to whether to oppose the merger or not.
Airlines have until April 4 to file their appeals against the merger.
The appeal planned by Ultra Air adds more time to the case, due to the fact that Avianca itself had stated that the approval subject to Aerocivil’s conditions is not final because it leaves the door open to appeals and reconsideration, not only by the interested third parties, but also by the intervening companies.
“Until that happens, Avianca is not empowered to intervene in the operational or financial situation of the airline Viva, nor can it resolve, as required by the resolution, the situation of users affected by the low-cost [airline],” Avianca said.
Once Aerocivil’s decision was announced, Avianca also stated that given the operational, financial and technical implications, it will study as soon as possible the resolution and the implications of the measures set forth by the authority to determine the feasibility for it complying.
In this regard, it emphasized that Viva Air no longer has the same capacities: route network, airplanes, workers, that it had had before its temporary suspension of its operations, a factor that must be analyzed in detail to determine the pertinence of the conditions established by Aerocivil.
The conditions set by the Aerocivil for the merger:
1. That the rights of Viva Air users be respected, that tickets for cancelled flights be reimbursed and that those who have tickets pending execution be allowed to fly. In any case, they must respond to Viva Air passengers affected by the company’s unilateral decisions to cease operations.
2. The return of take-off and landing slots that imply aggravating the situation of concentration in the most in-demand slots for both the summer and winter seasons, and both in departures and arrivals, with the purpose of not increasing the barriers to accessing the infrastructure of El Dorado Airport in Bogotá.
3. Maintain Viva Air’s low-cost scheme as an air transportation option that cheaper offers options to users.
4. The return of frequencies on the Bogotá-Buenos Aires route, which has been particularly impacted.
5. Maintain an effective fare cap on routes where the integrated company retains 100% of operations.
6. Ensuring the service of routes with the greatest concentration of passenger numbers.