Avianca S.A. (acronym in Spanish for "Aerovías del Continente Americano S.A.", Airways of the American Continent) is the national airline and flag carrier of Colombia, since 5 December 1919, when it was initially registered under the name SCADTA. It is headquartered in Bogotá, D.C. with its main hub at El Dorado International Airport. Avianca is also a trademark comprising a group of seven independently IATA-coded and -owned Latin American airlines, whose operations are combined to function as one airline using a code sharing system. Avianca is the largest airline in Colombia and second largest in Latin America. Avianca together with its subsidiaries has the most extensive network of destinations in Latin America. It is wholly owned by Synergy Group S.A., a Latin American holding company established by Germán Efromovich and specializing in air transport. It is listed on the Colombia Stock Exchange.
On 7 October 2009, it was announced that Avianca would merge with TACA. In 2009 Avianca reached its 90th anniversary. It is the world's second oldest airline still in operation (behind KLM); Avianca is the oldest continuously operating airline in the Western Hemisphere.
On 21 June 2012, Avianca became an official member of Star Alliance after a process that lasted for around 18 months since their initial announcement of being invited in joining the Alliance.
The airline traces its history back to 5 December 1919, in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia. Colombians Ernesto Cortissoz (the first President of the Airline), Rafael Palacio, Cristóbal Restrepo, Jacobo Correa and Aristides Noguera and Germans Werner Kämerer, Stuart Hosie and Alberto Tietjen founded the Colombo-German Company, called Sociedad Colombo-Alemana de Transporte Aéreo or SCADTA. The company accomplished their first flight between Barranquilla and the nearby town of Puerto Colombia using a Junkers F.13, transporting 57 pieces of mail. The flight was piloted by German Helmuth von Krohn. This and another aircraft of the same type were completely mechanically constructed monoplanes, the engines of which had to be modified to efficiently operate in the climate of the country. There were nine aircraft in the fleet with a total range of Script error: No such module "convert". which could carry up to four passengers and two crewmen. Due to the topographic characteristics of the country and the lack of airports at the time, floats were adapted for two of the Junkers aircraft to make water landings in the rivers near different towns. Using these floats, Helmuth von Krohn was able to perform the first inland flight over Colombia on 20 October 1920, following the course of the Magdalena River; the flight took eight hours and required four emergency landings in the water.
Soon after the airline was founded, German scientist and philanthropist Peter von Bauer became interested in the airline and contributed general knowledge, capital and a tenth aircraft for the company, as well as obtaining concessions from the Colombian government to operate the country's airmail transportation division using the airline, which began in 1922. This new contract allowed SCADTA to thrive in a new frontier of aviation. By the mid-1920s, SCADTA started its first international routes that initially covered destinations in Venezuela and the United States. In 1924, the aircraft that both Ernesto Cortissoz and Helmuth von Krohn were flying crashed into an area currently known as Bocas de Ceniza in Barranquilla, killing them. In the early 1940s, Peter von Bauer sold his shares in the airline to the US-owned Pan American World Airways.
National Airways of Colombia (1940–1994)
On 14 June 1940, in the city of Barranquilla, SCADTA, under ownership by United States businessmen, merged with Colombian Air Carrier SACO (acronym of Servicio Aéreo Colombiano), forming the new Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia S.A. or Avianca. Five Colombians participated in this: Rafael María Palacio, Jacobo A. Corea, Cristobal Restrepo, and Aristides Noguera, as well as German citizens Alberto Teitjen, Werner Kaemerer and Stuart Hosie, while the post of first President of Avianca was filled by Martín del Corral.
In 1946, Avianca began flights to Quito, Lima, Panama City, Miami, New York City and Europe, using Douglas DC-4s and C-54 Skymasters. In 1951, Avianca acquired Lockheed 749 Constellations and 1049 Super Constellations. In 1961, Avianca leased two Boeing 707 aircraft, to operate its international routes and on November 2, 1961, it acquired its own Boeing 720s. In 1976, Avianca became the first Latin American airline to continuously operate a Boeing 747. Three years later, it started operations with another 747, this time a 747 Combi, mixing cargo and passenger operations.
Merger and alliance (1994–2002)
In 1994, Avianca, the regional carrier SAM and the helicopter operator Helicol, merged, beginning Avianca's new system of operations. This arrangement allowed for specialized services in cargo (Avianca Cargo) and postal services, as well as a more modern fleet, made up of Boeing 767–200s, Boeing 767–300s, Boeing 757–200s, McDonnell Douglas MD-83s, Fokker 50s, and Bell helicopters.
By 1996, Avianca Postal Services became Deprisa, which provided various mail services.
Summa Alliance (2002–2004)
After the September 11 attacks, Avianca, the regional carrier SAM Colombia, and its major rival ACES Colombia joined efforts to create Alianza Summa, which began merged operations on 20 May 2002. In November 2003, Alianza Summa was disbanded and ACES Colombia was liquidated altogether and SAM Colombia was acquired to be a regional carrier under Avianca's brand.
American Continent Airways (2004–2009)
On 10 December 2004, Avianca concluded a major reorganization process, undertaken after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, by obtaining confirmation of its reorganization plan, which was financially backed by the Brazilian consortium, OceanAir/Synergy Group and the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, allowing the airline to obtain funds for US$63 million, in the 13 months following withdrawal from bankruptcy.
Under this plan, Avianca was bought by Synergy Group, and was consolidated with its subsidiaries OceanAir and VIP Ecuador. In 2009, they were re-branded as Avianca Brazil and Avianca Ecuador, respectively.
Avianca-TACA merger (2009-2013)
In 2009, it was announced that Avianca would merge with TACA. This created AviancaTaca Holdings, which instantly became one of the region's largest airlines, with 129 aircraft and flights to more than 100 destinations.
In November 2009, the airline's Chief Executive Fabio Villegas announced that the airline was looking to replace its Fokker 50 and Fokker 100 aircraft with newer aircraft of 100 seats or less. In January 1, 2011, the airline decided to retire the Fokker 100 aircraft in 2011 and replace them with 10 Airbus A318 leased from GECAS. The aircraft were delivered from February to April 2011.
Star Alliance (since 2012)
On 10 November 2010, Star Alliance announced that Avianca (and its merger counterpart, TACA) were full members in 2012. Due to Avianca's entry into Star Alliance, it ended its codeshare agreement with Delta Air Lines and began a new codeshare agreement with United Airlines. TACA had been codesharing with United Airlines since 2006. On June 21, 2012, Avianca and TACA were both officially admitted into Star Alliance.
Avianca Holdings S.A. (2013-Present)
TACA all other AviancaTaca airlines changed their brand to Avianca on May 28, 2013. On 21 March 2013, at the annual general meeting, the shareholders approved the change of corporate name from AviancaTaca Holdings S.A. to Avianca Holdings S.A.
In early 2015 it was announced that the airline had concluded a memorandum of understanding with Sky Airline of Chile, and would acquire a 59% controlling stake in Sky Airline. Until the deal was finalised Sky Airline would continue to operate independently.
Avianca's current headquarters is on Avenida El Dorado and between Avenida la Esmeralda and Gobernación de Cundinamarca, located in the Ciudad Salitre area of Bogota. The building is located next to the Gran Estación. Its previous head office was at Avenida El Dorado No. 93-30.
Avianca's hubs are in Bogotá at El Dorado International Airport, in San Salvador at Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport and in Lima at Jorge Chávez International Airport. Its focus cities are Medellín, Cali, Cartagena, Barranquilla, San José and Quito as well as Miami, where Avianca is the largest foreign carrier by number of passengers. The airline covers 87 destinations in 22 countries.
Frequent Flyer Program
Avianca launched their LifeMiles frequent-flyer program in 2011, replacing AviancaPlus. The levels include Silver, Gold and Diamond, replacing the former Basic, Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Executive levels. This program covers all Avianca Holdings airlines.
Avianca currently maintains codeshare agreements with the following airlines in North America, South America, and Europe, as of October 2014:
Cargo Codeshare Agreements
Since 2012, Avianca has had codeshare agreements with all members of the Star Alliance.
Business Class is the differential service and on board, for people who travel fare Business Class and LifeMiles highest number of miles accumulators. On land, they have unique modules for checkup and access to the VIP lounges. They also have priority boarding, luggage special badge and priority delivery. Once on board, these travelers have an exclusive cabin with more comfortable seats and more spacious. The menu has more variety of food, drinks and canapés. During the trip they have multiple options, such as audiovisual entertainment and reading material. With the Airbus A330, travelers in this class have an entertainment system consisting of a single touch screen in each seat manufacturer Panasonic, as well as different technologies to work as SkyOffice, USB connectors and power outlets among others.
Now, with the entry of Avianca Boeing 787, this class travelers have a revolutionary entertainment on board these aircraft, which includes a 16-inch thinner and tactile screen that has a touch control that allows you to see the rest on board content without pause what you're seeing. Each seat also has a personal space in order to give the passenger the maximum benefits to have a better rest in long-haul flights.
As of May 2015, the Avianca Holding S.A. fleet consists of the following aircraft:
Avianca, Air France and British Airways are currently the only three airlines in the world to operate every variant of the Airbus A320 family.
Avianca's first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner was handed over from Boeing on 17 December 2014 and launched its first service on 16 January 2015 between Bogota and New York.
Incidents and accidents
The airline suffered a few incidents during the 1980s and early 1990s. The deadliest of those incidents was Avianca Flight 203, which was bombed in 1989, following orders from Pablo Escobar to kill presidential candidate César Gaviria Trujillo. In the aftermath, it was found that Gaviria had not boarded the aircraft. Only one successful bombing has occurred in the airline's history, while most other gang related incidents were related to hijackings or shootings on board. In most hijackings, all passengers and crew members, unaffiliated with the hijacker's cause, were immediately released.
- On 22 January 1947, a Douglas C-53B, registered C-108, crashed in the Magdalena river valley, killing all 17 people on board.
- On 9 August 1954, a Lockheed L-749A Constellation, registered HK-163, crashed three minutes after take off from Lajes Field, Azores, after it flew left into the hills instead of right towards the sea. All 30 on board died.
- On 9 March 1955, a Douglas C-47A, registered HK-328, crashed at Trujillo, Colombia, killing all eight on board. The wreckage was found a month later, but some of the gold and cargo was missing.
- On 23 June 1959, a Douglas DC-4, registered HK-135 and operating Flight 667, struck Cerro Baco mountain while en route to Lima, Peru, killing all 14 aboard.
- On 21 January 1960,a Lockheed L-1049E operating Flight 671 crashed and burned on landing at Montego Bay International Airport in Jamaica, killing 37 aboard.
- On 22 March 1965, a Douglas C-47-DL, registered HK-109 and operating Flight 676, struck Pan de Azucar at an elevation of Script error: No such module "convert"., killing all 29 on board. The cause was the decision of the pilot to fly VFR in conditions that required IFR.
- On 15 January 1966, Avianca Flight 4 crashed shortly after takeoff from Cartagena-Crespo Airport. The cause was determined to be maintenance problems, possibly compounded by pilot error.
- On 22 September 1966, a Douglas DC-4, registered HK-174 and operating Flight 870, crashed while attempting to return to Eldorado Airport due to engine problems, killing both pilots. The cause was traced to a failure in the governor control unit. Improper supervision by the company was a contributing factor, as the pilot was briefed to make a night flight while he was in conversion training for the L-749.
- On 24 December 1966, a Douglas C-47A, registered HK-161 and operating Flight 729, struck Tajumbina Peak at an elevation of Script error: No such module "convert". while approaching Cali, killing all 29 on board. A combination of poor CRM, pilot intoxication, deviation from route, and pilot error was cited as the cause.
- On 21 May 1970, a Douglas DC-3, registered HK-121, was hijacked to Yariguíes Airport, Barrancabermeja whilst on a flight from El Alcaraván Airport, Yopal to Alberto Lleras Carmargo Airport, Sogamoso. The hijackers had demanded to be taken to Cuba.
- On 29 July 1972, two Douglas C-53s, registered HK-107 and HK-1341, were involved in a mid-air collision over the Las Palomas Mountains. Both aircraft crashed, killing 21 people on HK-107 and 17 people on HK-1341. Both aircraft were operating domestic scheduled passenger flights from La Vanguardia Airport, Villavicencio to El Yopal Airport.
- On 22 August 1973, a Douglas DC-3A, registered HK-111, crashed into a hill near Casanare, Colombia, killing 16 of the 17 people on board. The aircraft was operating a domestic scheduled passenger flight from La Vanguardia Airport, Villavicencio to El Alcaraván Airport, Yopal.
- On 12 August 1974, a Douglas C-47, registered HK-508, flew into Trujillo Mountain, killing all 27 people on board. The aircraft was on a domestic scheduled passenger flight from El Dorado Airport, Bogotá to La Florida Airport, Tumaco.
- On November 27, 1983, a Boeing 747–200 operating Flight 011 crashed onto a mountain just short of landing at Barajas Airport in Madrid, killed 181 of the 192 people aboard. The cause was determined to be pilot error.
- On 17 March 1988, a Boeing 727 operating Flight 410 crashed into low mountains near Cúcuta – Norte de Santander, Colombia after take-off, killing all 143 on board. It was determined that pilot error was also the cause of this crash, in a situation similar to Flight 011.
- On 27 November 1989, a bomb destroyed Avianca Flight 203. All 110 passengers and crew were killed.
- On 25 January 1990, a Boeing 707–320 operating Flight 52 en route from Bogotá to New York City via Medellín crashed in the town of Cove Neck, New York, after running out of fuel while in a holding pattern, awaiting landing at New York's Kennedy Airport, killing 73 of the 158 people aboard.
- On 26 April 1990, 19th of April Movement presidential candidate Carlos Pizarro was gunned down during a domestic Avianca flight.
- On 12 April 1999, a Fokker 50 operating Flight 9463 from Bogotà to Bucaramanga was hijacked by 6 ELN members, who forced the plane to make an emergency landing on a clandestine runway in the Bolivar region. Only one passenger died during captivity, the rest were eventually liberated a year after the hijack.
- ^ Avianca compró Aerounión: http://www.dinero.com/empresas/articulo/avianca-compro-aerounion/193184
- ^ "Resultados Avianca 2009" (PDF). Avianca.fr. Retrieved 2012-0928.
- ^ Álvaro Uribe Vélez; Jorge Humberto Botero Angulo (March 7, 2005). "Decreto número 604 de 2005 por el cual se concede la Orden del Mérito Comercial en la Categoría de Gran Oficial a Avianca" [Decree number 604 of 2005 which grants to Avianca the Order of Commercial Merit in the Category of Great Officer] (PDF) (in Spanish). Bogotá, D.C. (Colombia): Ministerio de Comercio, Industria y Turismo de la República de Colombia.
- ^ Álvaro Uribe Vélez (March 7, 2005). "Discurso de entrega de la Orden del Mérito Comercial en la Categoría de Gran Oficial a Avianca" [Presidential address on the Order of Commercial Merit in the Category of Great Officer to Avianca] (.HTM) (in Spanish). Bogotá, D.C. (Colombia): Presidencia de la República de Colombia.
Nosotros no podemos perder la oportunidad de tener en Bogotá ese gran centro de conexiones. Y por supuesto, que lo haga la compañía bandera de Colombia, que es Avianca. Eso lo tiene que explicar el Gobierno a la opinión pública clara y paladinamente, sin malicias, sin cartas escondidas, y salir a defenderlo y decir por qué hay que hacerlo.
- ^ Simón Rodríguez Rodríguez (September 21, 1989). "Sentencia del Honorable Consejo de Estado de la República de Colombia con relación al proceso número 132 que reposa en el expediente del año 1989 (ce-sec1-exp1989-n132)" [Sentence of the Honourable Council of State of the Republic of Colombia in relation to the process number 132 which rests on the record of 1989 (ce-sec1-exp1989-n132)] (.DOC) (in Spanish). Bogotá, D.C. (Colombia): Consejo de Estado de la República de Colombia. pp. 10, 16, 5th paragraph.
Desde ningún punto de vista puede abrigarse duda alguna acerca del carácter eminentemente privado de la empresa Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia AVIANCA S. A. La prueba por excelencia en este caso, como es el certificado expedido por el Secretario de la Cámara de Comercio de Barranquilla así lo determina (fls. 2 a 10). En él se lee que la empresa se constituyó por escritura pública número 2374, otorgada ante Notaría Segunda de Barranquilla, el día 5 de diciembre de 1919, registrada en el Juzgado Tercero del mismo Circuito, llamada inicialmente Sociedad Colombo – Alemana de Transportes Aéreos -SCADTA-.
- ^ Friedman, Max Paul (April 2000). "Specter of a Nazi Threat: United States-Colombian Relations, 1939–1945". The Americas. 4 (Washington, D.C. (United States): Catholic University of America Press on behalf of Academy of American Franciscan History) 56: 563–589 [566 2nd paragraph]. JSTOR 1008173.
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- ^ Brown, Claire; Claire Brown (Director of Communications at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum) (1998-07-28). "National Air and Space Museum Exhibition Examines the Development of Latino Aviation". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
SCADTA Junkers F 13, one of the first commercial airlines in Colombia. SCADTA (now known as AVIANCA) is the oldest, continuously operating airline in the Western Hemisphere.
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- ^ Buitrago, Alejandra. "Avianca tendrá nueva sede administrativa a comienzos del 2009 en Eje Empresarial del Salitre." Portafolio. Retrieved on July 11, 2010. "Será un edificio con 13.800 metros cuadrados de vidrio en sus fachadas, con un coeficiente de sombra de solo el 0,71% en diseño bioclimático que permitirá luz y aire naturales incluso en los sótanos." and "Su altura será de 46 metros y tres sótanos, para un área construida de 34.536 metros cuadrados. El primer piso tendrá locales comerciales y una amplia zona de parqueaderos."
- ^ Oficinas Colombia." Avianca. March 9, 2000. Retrieved on January 30, 2011.
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- ^ Avianca (June 1, 2008). "Aerolíneas aliadas: Avianca Brasil" (in Spanish). Bogotá, D.C. (Colombia): Avianca.
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- ^ Avianca (November 3, 2010). "Avianca y Lufthansa firman acuerdo de operación en código compartido" (PDF) (in Spanish). Bogotá DC (Colombia): Avianca.fr.
- ^ Emisora Ejercito (July 18, 2007). "Satena y Avianca firman acuerdo de ampliación de servicios" (in Spanish). Bogotá DC (Colombia): emisoraejercito.mil.co.
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- ^ "Alianza Estrategica Deprisa – UPS" (PDF). Avianca.fr.
- ^ Star Alliance (March 18, 2011). "Star Alliance Members". Franckfort (Germany): staralliance.com.
- ^ http://www.avianca.com/en-co/travel-information/before-your-flight/new-boeing-787.aspx
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- ^ a b "Avianca cumple 90 años" (PDF) (in Spanish). Avianca. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
- ^ a b Avianca (April 4, 2010). "Nace una historia con alas" (.HTM) (in Spanish). Bogotá, D.C. (Colombia): Avianca.
- ^ "Photo Search Results". Retrieved 24 April 2015.
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- ^ Davies, R.E.G., Airlines of Latin America since 1919, London 1984
- ^ Accident description for C-108 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 1 July 2013.
- ^ Accident description for HK-163 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 27 May 2012.
- ^ Accident description for HK-328 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 1 July 2013.
- ^ Accident description for HK-135 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 1 July 2013.
- ^ Jamaica Observer, "From Avianca to CanJet: MoBay Airport at Centre of J'can Aviation History", 22 April 2009 . Retrieved 25 April 2009.
- ^ Accident description for HK-109 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 1 July 2013.
- ^ Accident description for HK-174 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 1 July 2013.
- ^ Accident description for CCCP-M25 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 1 July 2013.
- ^ "Hijacking description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
- ^ "HK-107 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- ^ "HK-1341 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- ^ "HK-111 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
- ^ "HK-508 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
- ^ "Colombia". Lcweb2.loc.gov. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- ^ "Americas | Massive security at Colombia's airports". BBC News. 2002-07-19. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
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