18 MAY 2020
© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.
Founded in 1919, Avianca is claimed to be the world’s longest operating airline with continuous service (KLM stopped flying during WWII). The airline has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, blaming the coronavirus pandemic for the “most challenging crisis” in its 100-year history.
The Colombian carrier sought bankruptcy protection in a New York court on Sunday (10 May) having so far failed to secure a government bailout.
It said the move was forced by the “unforeseeable impact” of Covid-19, given that its scheduled passenger operations have been grounded since mid-March.
CEO Anko van der Werff said the process was a “necessary step” to address its financial challenges and emerge as “a better, more efficient airline that operates for many more years.”
Avianca employs more than 21,000 throughout Latin America, including 14,000 in Colombia. The Bogota-based airline carried in excess of 30m passengers last year to 76 destinations in 27 countries in the Americas and Europe.
It hopes the restructuring of its balance sheet and obligations will allow the carrier to protect jobs and “comprehensively address liabilities, leases, aircraft orders and other commitments.”
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John Burke, England
My sole, but happy, Avianca flight was Bogota-Lima. KLM surely did wartime flights between Bristol and Lisbon, pooled with British carrier.