The Colombian Government, through the Civil Aviationdenied on Tuesday, November 8, the unification between Avianca and Viva Airlines into a single commercial group under the argument that it would affect free competition.
Therefore, on Wednesday 23, Avianca announced that they appealed the agency’s decision and expressed their willingness to propose solutions that resolve the concerns of the authorities about the fact that both companies are part of the same business group.
“We are open and willing to continue building the history of Colombia and to contribute to the strengthening of the air market so that the country is increasingly and better connected,” said the president of Avianca, Adrián Neuhauser.
For this, Neuhauser indicated that they put “different alternatives on the table so that the authority can study them in light of protecting the largest number of formal jobs; maintain the regional connectivity that Viva offers; as well as your brand and what makes it special. All this, aimed at ensuring the general well-being of air transport users”.
It should be noted that in August, the airlines submitted the integration operation to the control of the aeronautical authority, but the entity concluded, after an analysis by a technical and legal team, that this “represents risks for competition in the sector and the welfare of consumers.”
Among the arguments given by the Government are that “this economic group would reach 100% participation in 16 national routes” and that, “in terms of free competition, it would mean a setback and a return to levels that were not seen in the country for more than 7 years”.
Vianca and Viva’s arguments
To convince Aerocivil, Avianca and Viva presented a proposal that, they consider, will help in the “quest for the aviation sector to truly be for everyone and that the connectivity of Colombia, its regions and its travelers be the priority.”
The first point of the initiative of the airlines seeks to reduce their participation in the El Dorado airport in Bogotá, that is, to “return a relevant percentage” of the landing and takeoff permits to Aerocivil and assign some of them to competitors so that others companies, “if they so wish”, increase their operations in the capital.
Likewise, they propose that the Viva brand and its low-cost model continue to exist, which will allow them to preserve the greatest number of jobs, a large part of their planes and the operation of the routes to which that company flies exclusively.
They also intend to protect rates “on the three routes in which both airlines become 100% operational as a result of the transaction,” according to the statement.
Finally, the proposal provides for maintaining Viva’s interline agreements, which would ensure “the connectivity that this company provides to passengers and other airlines.”
With information from EFE.