DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky
June 15, 2024
Three Busy Months: What Has Happened So Far In Latin America This Year?

Photo: Viva Air.

Care to share?

2023 began with a bang for Latin American carriers. We have seen almost everything in these first three months. From the announcement of new airlines to the cease of operations of three –possibly four– operators in the region, it has been a very active period. 

New airlines arriving – old ones leaving

It is the cycle of life for airlines globally. Every year we see the announcement of new carriers coming to life and others ending theirs after –hopefully– lengthy periods in which they left a mark on the industry’s history. In Latin America, launching an airline seems to be one of the riskiest businesses there can be. 

This year, the region has officially lost one airline, temporarily lost two, and possibly one more. Ok, what? Let’s put that sentence into context. 

Mexico’s Aeromar ceased operations for good in February 2023. There’s no turning back from that. The airline will not fly again after more than 30 years in the business (it was launched in 1987). 

Colombia and Peru’s Viva Air have temporarily ceased operations since February 28. The two airlines –Viva Colombia and Viva Peru– will only resume operations if their merger with Avianca is approved. And that happens to be the case. The approval of the merger by Colombia’s civil aviation authority is expected at any minute now. Still, one question lingers: how an airline that has not operated for 22 days will be able to quickly resume operations and restore its credibility after thousands of passengers were left stranded and without answers in the days after Viva’s demise? We will have to look at future developments. 

Colombia’s Ultra Air seems to be on thin ice. A few days ago, the country’s Minister of Transportation said publicly that he believed Ultra Air would cease operations shortly as it faces a complex financial situation. Auch. Talk about giving confidence to the flying public. A few days later, JetSMART announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to acquire Ultra Air. The Chilean-based company is currently looking at Ultra Air’s finances and operations and could sign the deal in the next few weeks. 

Talking about JetSMART, this company has received authorization to launch a new domestic branch in Colombia. Another future airline set to appear this year is Mexico’s Aerus. Interesting times, definitely. 

Consolidation incoming

The trend of consolidation in the region seems to be increasing. Viva Air and Avianca are set to merge –unless something happens in the last minute. Then these two carriers will launch with GOL Linhas Aéreas, the Abra Group Limited, of which we have had no additional information in the last few months. 

JetSMART, backed by powerful allies Indigo Partners and American Airlines, is looking for airlines to acquire. First, the carrier bid for Viva Air, although that seemed to go nowhere. Now, the company is looking to acquire Ultra Air. 

Financial results in a glimpse

These past months, all major airlines in the region released their financial results for 2022. Here is a look at some of the major stats from some of them: 

Airline Net Revenue ($US) Net Income/Loss # Of Passengers Fleet
LATAM Airlines 9,516,807,000 (121,279,000) 62,467,000 310 

  • 237 Airbus narrowbody
  • 57 Boeing widebody
  • 16 Boeing freighters
Azul Linhas Aereas 3,043,530,619 (263,282,450) 27,485,000 177

  • 14 Airbus widebody
  • 52 Airbus narrowbody
  • 14 Embraer E2
  • 49 Embraer E1
  • 41 ATR
  • 24 Cessna
  • 17 subleased
GOL Linhas Aereas ( fourth-quarter only) 896,621,350 44,048,908 7,776,000 146

  • 20 B737-700NG
  • 86 B737-800NG
  • 2 B737-800NG Freighers
  • 38 B737 MAX 8
Copa Airlines 2,965,033,000 348,054,000 15,724,000 97 

  • 9 B737-700
  • 67 B737-800
  • 20 B737 MAX 9
  • 1 B737-800 freighter
Volaris 2,847,000,000 (30,000,000) 31,051,000 117

  • 4 A319
  • 88 A320
  • 25 A321
Viva Aerobus 1,461,000,000 11,000,000 20,698,000 69

  • 43 A320
  • 26 A321

Grupo Aeromexico and Avianca no longer release their financial results.

author avatar
Daniel Martínez Garbuno
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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.