Ultra Air has become the fourth Latin American airline to announce its cease of operations in 2023. The Colombian carrier, which was only launched in 2022, will stop flying on March 30, it announced today.
Ultra Air ceases operation
On Wednesday, Ultra Air announced that it will stop flying at 00:00 on March 30. The airline was revealed to be in a complex financial situation earlier this month by Colombia’s Minister of Transportation. In a radio interview, he urged Ultra Air to be more transparent with its finances and predicted the company could last until Easter. It wasn’t the case.
Ultra Air was launched in 2022, and the company carried over two million passengers, earning an 8% market share across Colombia, and created over 1,200 work positions, it said in a statement.
Gracias por creer y acompañarnos con tu vibra en este viaje. Ofrecemos excusas a todos nuestros pasajeros que resulten afectados. pic.twitter.com/GX2WIOBTCt
— Ultra Air (@ultraairoficial) March 29, 2023
“However, the adverse macroeconomic landscape for the industry, as well as the increase in fuel prices and exchange rates, created a heavy increase in costs for airlines, which has led us to operate on a deficit for the last few months,” the airline explained in a statement published on social media.
Ultra Air had a fleet of six Airbus A320ceos and operated exclusively in the Colombian domestic market. The company had plans to grow internationally. It is the fourth airline to cease operations in the Latin American market in 2023 after Aeromar, Viva Colombia, and Viva Peru. It is also the second airline launched after the COVID-19 pandemic to fold. The first was Brazil’s Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos which lasted six months between June and December 2021.
Blaming Viva Air
Ultra Air said Viva Air’s collapse is partially responsible for its demise. In the statement, Ultra Air argued that the cease of operations of Colombia’s third-largest airline alerted the industry providers and aircraft lessors. The airline explained that they “began requesting immediate payments and even prepayments for their services, which is not usual in this industry” the airline explained.
Colombia’s Minister of Transportation Guillermo Reyes released a video explaining the immediate cease of operations of Ultra Air. He said that the airline was unable to obtain a capitalization that would keep it flying. The country introduced a scheme to protect passengers with confirmed fares, forcing the airline to relocate the travelers or make a full reimbursement.
Avianca has announced a protection scheme to help Ultra Air’s stranded passengers. The flag airline has maintained a similar scheme for Viva’s impacted passengers carrying over 70,000 travelers in the last month.
Ultra Air passengers with confirmed tickets to fly between March 29 and April 1 will be freely relocated on Avianca’s flights, the airline said. They will also have special prices for flying until April 9.
Daniel Martínez Garbuno is a Mexican journalist. He has specialized in the air industry working mainly for A21, a Mexican media outlet focused entirely on the aviation world. He has also published on other sites like Simple Flying, Roads & Kingdoms, Proceso, El Economista, Buzos de la Noticia, Contenido, and Notimex.