Avianca Brasil to Return Aircraft, Cut Routes

 - March 26, 2019, 2:11 PM
An Avianca Brasil Airbus A319 takes off from Santos Dumont Airport in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons (BY) by Joao Carlos Medau)

Financially strapped Avianca Brasil in April will remove 22 aircraft from its fleet of 48 and reduce the number of destinations in its network from 44 to 23, the airline announced late Monday. Appeals had stayed orders to return 10 leased Airbus A320s to Aircastle subsidiary Constitution Aircraft, and another 10 A320s to GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), pending a creditors’ assembly, but that will take place this week. Avianca will shut its base at Rio’s Galeão international airport, and two bases in the Brazilian Northeast, besides ending international operations this month as previously announced.

Brazil’s third largest airline, Azul, has made a $110 million offer to assume some of Avianca’s slots at congested airports Congonhas and Guarulhos in São Paulo, and Santos Dumont in Rio de Janeiro, and up to 28 of its A318s, A319s, A320s, and A320neos. Azul has already advanced cash to let Avianca meet payroll. Maintaining the slots requires the formation of an operational subsidiary, dubbed Life Air. The plan, which calls for the auctioning off of Life Air in April, must win approval from the creditors’ assembly and then the courts. Avianca owes $151 million to lessors and $700 million to other creditors.