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Viva Air Colombia

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Viva Air Colombia
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedSeptember 16, 2009
Commenced operationsMay 25, 2012
Ceased operationsFebruary 27, 2023
AOC #9B2F646F
Focus citiesRafael Núñez International Airport[1]
SubsidiariesViva Air Perú
Fleet size10
Parent companyIrelandia Aviation
HeadquartersRionegro, Colombia
Key peopleFrancisco Lalinde (President and CEO)[2]
FoundersWilliam N.A. Shaw, Juan E. Posada, Gabriel Migowski, Frederik Jacobsen

Fast Colombia S.A.S., trading as Viva Air Colombia and formerly VivaColombia, was a Colombian ultra low-cost airline[3][4][5][6] based in Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia.[7] It was a subsidiary of Irelandia Aviation and, as of its bankruptcy in March 2023, the third largest airline in the country.[8] The company was not legally affiliated with Mexico's Viva Aerobus, another low-cost carrier co-founded by Irelandia which also uses the "Viva" brand,[9] although they did have a codeshare agreement for their flights. The company filed for insolvency in February 2023, and on February 27, 2023, the airline suspended, and eventually ceased, all operations, citing rising fuel prices and Aerocivil's failure to approve its planned acquisition by Avianca.[10]

Foundation and early years[edit]

The airline was part of the Irelandia Aviation group, a low-cost airline developer led by Declan Ryan (chairman of the Viva Air group and one of the founders of Ryanair). Irelandia personnel have been involved in the development of five low-cost airlines around the world: Ryanair, Tiger Airways, Allegiant Air, VivaAerobus, and Viva Air.[citation needed] Irelandia owned 100% of its shares.

On May 9, 2017, Viva Air Perú, a Peruvian subsidiary airline, was launched with which the expansion process throughout Latin America continues.[11]

In April 2018, the company changed its name from VivaColombia to Viva Air Colombia to expand its model in Latin America and within the expansion plan Santa Marta was announced as the third center of operations in Colombia. The operations center was enabled in October 2018, with routes that were not covered by other airlines such as Santa Marta, San Andrés, Bucaramanga, and Pereira. This operations center would be assigned two aircraft initially.[12]

Merger ambitions[edit]

On April 29, 2022, it was announced that Avianca intended to acquire Viva Air Colombia.[13][14] However, the Colombian Aerocivil had initially opposed the merger, citing concerns of competition reduction in the country.[15] Despite this, negotiations for Avianca's merger have continued, and a new proposal is currently underway.[16][17]

In February 2023, JetSmart and LATAM Colombia individually announced their intentions to acquire Viva Air as an alternative to Avianca.[18][17] In the same month, the airline filed for bankruptcy protection following impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and merger with Avianca.[19] The company was forced to ground five aircraft from active service after the aircraft lessor claimed that Viva did not pay fees.[20]

On February 23, 2023, Felix Antelo announced that he was stepping down from his role as President and CEO of the Viva Air Group, citing his health which had "declined recently". He urged Aerocivil to "make a decision right now" regarding the Avianca-Viva merger, as the company was now in grave danger of disappearing entirely.[21] The company appointed Francisco Lalinde, previously their Vice President of Operations, as interim President and CEO of Viva Air.[22]

On February 27, 2023, Viva Air and its subsidiary Viva Air Perú suspended their operations indefinitely and grounded their entire fleet due to the financial crisis, blaming the situation on the delay in the response from Aerocivil on the Avianca-Viva merger authorization, stating that "The (civil aviation authority's) unprecedented decision will result in further delays in reaching a decision, for which Viva is forced to announce the suspension of its operations with immediate effect."[23][24][25]

On March 21, 2023, Aerocivil announced that it would approve the Avianca-Viva merger conditionally if the new entity complied with the following: to either refund or honor passengers' canceled bookings made prior to Viva Air's suspension of operations; to return some in-demand slots at Bogotá's El Dorado Airport previously held by Viva Air; to maintain Viva Air's low-cost model for consumers within Colombia; to reinstate flights between Bogotá and Buenos Aires; to maintain a fare cap on routes where the entity is the only operator; and, as the new entity would hold a majority of the market share in Colombia, to ensure that the market remains dynamic.[26]

On May 13, 2023, after analyzing the "financial and technical implications" of the merger under these conditions, Avianca withdrew its plans for the acquisition of Viva Air, given the strict requirements of Aerocivil and the damage that these would have on the airline's economy.[27][28]


The company filed for insolvency in February 2023, and on February 27, 2023, the airline suspended, and eventually ceased, all operations, citing rising fuel prices and Aerocivil's failure to approve its planned acquisition by Avianca.[10]

On June 22, 2023, the Superintendency of Corporations announced that Viva Air began its liquidation process due to the difficulties its having to resume operations.[29]


Countries in which Viva Air operated (December 2022)

Viva Air Colombia served the following destinations (as of February 2023):[30][31]

Country City Airport Notes Refs
Argentina Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport [citation needed]
Brazil São Paulo São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport Terminated [32]
Colombia Apartadó Antonio Roldan Betancourt Airport Terminated
Armenia El Edén International Airport [33]
Barranquilla Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport
Bogotá El Dorado International Airport Hub
Bucaramanga Palonegro International Airport
Cali Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport Hub
Cartagena Rafael Núñez International Airport Focus city
Cúcuta Camilo Daza International Airport
Leticia Alfredo Vásquez Cobo International Airport
Medellín José María Córdova International Airport Hub
Montería Los Garzones Airport
Neiva Benito Salas Airport
Pasto Antonio Nariño Airport
Pereira Matecaña International Airport
Riohacha Almirante Padilla Airport
San Andrés Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport
Santa Marta Simón Bolívar International Airport
Valledupar Alfonso López Pumarejo Airport
Villavicencio La Vanguardia Airport [33]
Dominican Republic Punta Cana Punta Cana International Airport [citation needed][34]
Ecuador Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport Terminated
Mexico Cancún Cancún International Airport
Mexico City Mexico City International Airport [35]
Panama Panama City Panamá Pacífico International Airport Terminated
Peru Lima Jorge Chávez International Airport [1]
United States Miami Miami International Airport
Orlando Orlando International Airport

Interline agreements[edit]

Viva Air Colombia maintained interline agreements with the following airlines:


A former Viva Air Colombia Airbus A320-200 in its former livery and name.

The Viva Air Colombia fleet consisted of the following aircraft:[36]

Viva Air Colombia former fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A320-200 29 2012 2023
Airbus A320neo 12 2020 All taken over by Avianca.[37]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On February 4, 2015, an Airbus A320-200 (registered HK-5051) flying from Bogotá to Medellín with 182 people aboard. 17 minutes after take off, an engine caught fire and the plane had to make an emergency landing at El Dorado International Airport. Once on the ground, firefighters brought the fire under control. Aerocivil reported that the passengers "had not been subject to a serious situation."[38]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "VivaColombia confirms Panama and Peru services and new base at Bogota in 2014 - CAPA". centreforaviation.com.
  2. ^ "Francisco Lalinde es el nuevo presidente y CEO de Viva Air". Volavi.co (in Spanish). Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  3. ^ "The destiny of Colombian ULCC Viva lies with unpredictable government regulators". CAPA - Centre for Aviation.
  4. ^ "LATAM Becomes Third Airline To Pursue Colombian ULCC Viva | Aviation Week Network". aviationweek.com.
  5. ^ Cross, Lee (February 28, 2023). "Viva Air Suspends Operations". Airways.
  6. ^ "Viva To Challenge Legacy Carriers With Brazil Entry". Routes.
  7. ^ "Viva Colombia volará a Bucaramanga". www.vanguardia.com.
  8. ^ "While the Global Aviation Industry Faces Crisis, Viva Air Remains in Growth Mode: Exclusive Interview with CEO Felix Antelo - Finance Colombia". 18 May 2020.
  9. ^ Moss, Loren (27 February 2020). "Irelandia Aviation To Grant Equity Ownership To All Viva Air Employees". Finance Colombia. Finance Colombia. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  10. ^ a b Martínez Garbuno, Daniel (April 10, 2023). "Viva Air & Ultra Air: The Impact Of Losing Two Carriers". AirInsight. Retrieved February 12, 2024.
  11. ^ "Viva Perú Airline Profile | CAPA". centreforaviation.com. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
  12. ^ "Viva Air inaugurated its base of operations in Santa Marta". October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  13. ^ "Avianca and Viva shareholders join economic ownership in a new holding company". Avianca.com. April 29, 2022.
  14. ^ "Avianca confirma acuerdo con Viva por sus filiales de Colombia y Perú". Aviacionline.com (in Spanish). Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  15. ^ Meier, Ricardo (9 November 2022). "Colombian civil aviation authority opposes the Avianca-Viva Air merger". Air Data News. Air Data News. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  16. ^ Diaz, Pablo (20 February 2023). "The end is near: Viva grounds five aircraft and its only hope is the integration with Avianca to be approved". Aviacionline. Aviacionline.com. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  17. ^ a b Meier, Ricardo (15 February 2023). "Following JetSmart, LATAM also announces its intention to take over Viva Air". Air Data News. Air Data News. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  18. ^ Gimenez Mazo, Edgardo (7 February 2023). "Colombia: JetSMART Confirms Intent to Acquire Viva Air". Aviacionline. Aviacionline.com. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  19. ^ Russell, Edward (13 February 2023). "Colombia's Viva Air Files for Bankruptcy, Keeps Flying". Skift. Skift. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  20. ^ Díaz, Pablo (February 20, 2023). "The end is near: Viva grounds five aircraft and its only hope is the integration with Avianca to be approved". Aviacionline.com. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  21. ^ Giminez Mazó, Edgardo (February 23, 2023). "Felix Antelo steps down as President & CEO of Viva". Aviacionline.com. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  22. ^ Jaime Acosta, Luis (February 23, 2023). "Colombia's Viva Air changes CEO as it battles financial woes". Reuters.com. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  23. ^ "Comunicado a la opinión pública Viva suspende operaciones tras 7 meses de no recibir respuesta Por parte de la Aeronáutica Civil". Viva Air. Archived from the original on 2023-02-28. Retrieved 2023-02-28.
  24. ^ Jaime Acosta, Luis (February 28, 2023). "Colombia's Viva Air grounds fleet after Avianca merger hold-up". Reuters.com. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  25. ^ "Viva suspende operaciones tras 7 meses de no recibir respuesta Por parte de la Aeronáutica Civil". Vivaair.com (in Spanish). February 28, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  26. ^ Beresnevicius, Rytis (March 22, 2023). "Colombia approves Avianca-Viva Air merger following Viva's suspension of flights". Aerotime.aero. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  27. ^ Griffin, Oliver (March 22, 2023). "Colombia's aviation regulator conditionally approves Avianca, Viva Air merger". Reuters.com. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  28. ^ "Colombia's Avianca backs down from Viva Air merger". Reuters.com. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  29. ^ "Ya es definitivo: Viva Air se va a liquidación". Elcolombiano.com (in Spanish). Retrieved June 22, 2023.
  30. ^ "Route map Viva Air". Flightconnections. 24 December 2022.
  31. ^ "Viva Air Online Booking". Viva Air. 24 December 2022.
  32. ^ "Viva Air suspende todos os voos, inclusive para o Brasil". Aeroin.net (in Portuguese). Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  33. ^ a b "Viva Air inicio nuevas rutas a Armenia y Villavicencio". Volavi.co. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  34. ^ "VIVA inaugurates flights to Punta Cana". Aviacionline.com. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  35. ^ Sebastián Polito (4 August 2021). "Viva Air Colombia inaugurates flights between Medellin and Mexico City". Aviacionline.com. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  36. ^ "Viva Air Colombia Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved February 24, 2023.
  37. ^ "Avianca Gets All A320neos That Belonged to Failed VIVA". Aviacionline.com. Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  38. ^ "Viva Colombia plane makes an emergency landing in Bogotá due to fire in an engine". EL HERALDO (in Spanish). Retrieved November 1, 2019.


External links[edit]

Media related to Viva Colombia at Wikimedia Commons