Avianca Airlines (AV, Bogotá) and Viva (Colombia) (VH, Medellín José Maria Córdova) have requested authorisation from the Colombian civil aviation authority (Unidad Administrativa Especial de Aeronáutica Civil - Aerocivil) to integrate given “the delicate financial situation that Viva is going through,” Avianca revealed in a statement.

Colombian media reported in April that Avianca Group, formerly Avianca Holdings, had approached Grupo Viva over a potential acquisition. The two subsequently announced they would merge under a new holding company while continuing to operating as separate brands. Shortly afterwards, Avianca said it had struck a similar deal with with GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (G3, Sao Paulo Congonhas), to combine under a new entity, Grupo Abra.

Avianca and Viva have now officially asked permission to integrate, “in order to make the permanence of the low-cost airline viable for the benefit of passengers, connectivity in Colombia and Peru, as well as to safeguard jobs that directly and indirectly depend on Viva,” the statement dated August 8 said.

Given the urgency, Avianca said it had held conversations in recent days with representatives of Colombia’s new leftist government explaining the reasons for the integration request - a plea that was then formalised on the same day the government took office.

“It is important to point out that market conditions (jet fuel prices, inflation, and the appreciation of the dollar) have forced this request to the Aerocivil to be accelerated and become of the utmost urgency, since in the first quarter of the year, when [...] the financial situation of the low-cost company was different and Viva estimated that it had the necessary finances to compete normally,” the statement stressed.

Viva (Colombia) CEO Félix Antelo commented that “we are going through moments of great uncertainty in the airline industry, the most difficult in the last 20 years after Covid, and it is precisely within the framework of this challenging time that we presented to the Aerocivil, together with Avianca, the request for integration approval to become part of the Abra Business Group.” He added that Viva’s operations remain unchanged.

Viva (Colombia) currently operates a fleet of nine A320-200s and twelve A320-200Ns, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, with an additional 22 of the neo to be delivered. Grupo Viva also includes Viva Air Perú (VV, Lima International) which operates a further two of the ceo twinjets.