Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, Colombia had canceled air operations, as in most countries. Through the presentation of protocols and with measures that the airlines will implement, in September Colombia will restart flights within the country.
By Florencia Lucero Heguy
The Covid-19 brought economic problems to the whole world and, in particular, to several businesses such as aviation. Colombia is no stranger to this problem and has been, since March, with the airplanes stopped, consequently, the airlines are in poor economic condition. The good news is that from September they fly again.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicated that the industry is ready as protocols have been worked on, airports and airlines implemented the necessary measures to reactivate responsibly. Fifteen airports and routes for domestic flights will be opened.
Easyfly announced that it will reactivate ten routes from Medellín, Bucaramanga, Cali, Bogotá and Barranquilla. It should be noted that the airline has already transported approximately 1,500 passengers on more than seventy flights within the framework of the test plans approved since July 21.
Likewise, Latam Airlines Colombia will restart its national operation with eight routes from Bogotá, with the aim of rearming its network of destinations with the country’s capital as the only distribution hub. The destinations are Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Bucaramanga, San Andrés and Leticia. The start of operations will take place gradually, at the end of the month there would be four daily flights on the routes to Medellín and Cali, two daily flights to Cartagena, one daily flight to Barranquilla, Bucaramanga and Santa Marta and three weekly flights to San Andrés and Leticia, who will be the last to start their operation. The company aims to make 620 flights during September, completing an offer of 89,200 seats, which corresponds to 12% of the capacity prior to the pandemic. Five Airbus A319s with capacity for 144 passengers are scheduled to fly. Latam Colombia will focus on providing low fares in order to encourage travel, flexibility for flight rescheduling and health care for its passengers, crews and ground personnel.
For its part, Avianca will start with fourteen routes nationwide. From September 1 they will depart from Bogotá to Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Medellín, Montería, Pereira and San Andrés and from September 7 it will restart operations from Bogotá to Pasto, Santa Marta, Villavicencio and from Medellín to Cali and Cartagena. From the company they said that at first the national operation will be only 12% of that existing before Covid-19, but they hope that the demand and the need for connectivity will be activated quickly. Avianca will resume its flights with twenty aircraft, the Airbus 320 that will be arranged for the trunk routes and the ATR72 for regional operation.
It is important to bear in mind that, when the airline sector reactivates, other economies that are depressed will be revived, such as hotels, travel agencies, the gastronomic sector, among others.
According to the IATA forecast, domestic flights will be the first to recover, although, however, it will not be before 2023, just as international flights will not do so before 2024. From the institution they assured that “as an industry we have to adapt to what the new rules of the game will be, especially during the course of this virus, this crisis and those to come”.