Declan Ryan plans to merge airline Viva with Avianca

Aeronautical operator Declan Ryan is merging its South American low-cost airline Viva with Avianca, the airline group that operates in Colombia, among other places.

r Ryan, who owns a significant interest in Viva, will join the Avianca Board of Directors. A son of the late Ryanair founder Tony Ryan, Mr Ryan owns Dublin-based aviation consultancy Irelandia, which has helped found a number of low-cost airlines around the world.

The deal between Viva and Avianca is yet to be approved by regulators. If approval is granted, both airlines will continue to maintain their own brands and strategies.

The decision to merge the two companies was prompted by the impact of the Covid pandemic on the global airline industry.

“The pandemic has led countries worldwide to recognize the need to create robust and sustainable airline groups to ensure and improve domestic and international flight connectivity while delivering consumer value,” Avianca said in a statement.

“This is an important day for Viva as it is the perfect scenario to continue our growth and expansion strategy and stay true to our goal of air travel inclusiveness,” said Mr. Ryan.

He said the deal would encourage “growth” in the regional air transport market and “promote low fares for users”.

“By delivering the fundamental asset of bringing people together, we will positively impact Colombia’s connectivity, the region and the country’s economic development,” said Mr. Ryan.

Avianca has around 12,000 employees and a fleet of around 110 aircraft. It is part of the Star Alliance.

Viva has a fleet of 22 jets and 1,200 employees and has units in Colombia and Peru serving destinations across the region as well as Mexico and the United States.

In 2019, Viva received a $50 million investment from New York-based private equity firm Cartesian Capital for Viva Air Group in exchange for an equity stake in the airline.

Avianca last year completed a restructuring process that emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“This new and robust group of airlines will benefit customers by leveraging a more efficient cost structure to offer lower fares, a route network that offers direct connections between destinations, a strong loyalty program and a friendly and efficient service,” said Roberto Kriete, Avianca main shareholder and chairman.

“The combination will help customers in Colombia and Latin America have two airlines serving the Latin American market,” he added.

That Irish Independent recently announced that Ryan’s Irelandia is backing plans for a new aircraft leasing company called TippAero, targeting customer airlines in the low fare sector. Declan Ryan plans to merge airline Viva with Avianca

Fry Electronics Team

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