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Aerovías del Continente Americano
Founded June 14, 1940
Hubs El Dorado International Airport
Focus cities José María Córdova Int'l Airport
Ernesto Cortissoz Int'l Airport
Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Int'l Airport
Rafael Núñez Int'l Airport
Miami International Airport
John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport
Frequent flyer program AviancaPlus
Member lounge Avianca VIP Lounges
Alliance 6
Subsidiaries AeroGal
Capital Airlines
TACA (and its subsidiaries)
Tampa Cargo
Fleet size 58* (+73 orders, 28 options)
*Includes only Avianca and SAM fleet.
Destinations 49*
*Includes only Avianca and SAM destinations.
Company slogan The First Airline of the Americas
The Airline of Colombia
Things Are Happening Here (2005)
Gladly (2009)
Parent company Avianca-TACA Ltd.
Headquarters Bogotá, D.C. (Colombia)
Key people Germán Efromovich (Chairman)
Fabio Villegas Ramírez (CEO)
Operating income COP 2.8 B [1] (FY 2009)
Total assets COP 2.403.632 M (FY 2008)

Avianca S.A. (BVC:AVA) (Spanish acronym: Aerovías del Continente Americano, formerly Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia) is the flag carrier airline of Colombia. Avianca was founded in Barranquilla in 1940, as a result of the merger of Sociedad Colombo-Alemana de Transporte Aéreo or SCADTA (founded in 1919), and Servicio Aéreo Colombiano or SACO (founded in 1933).[1] Today its main operation base and headquarters are in Bogotá, adjacent to the El Dorado International Airport. Avianca is the largest airline in Colombia and a major one in Latin America (Avianca together with its subsidiaries has the most extended network of destinations in the Americas and one of the largest and most modern aircraft fleet in the continent). It is wholly owned by Avianca-TACA Ltd., a Latin American holding company registered in the Bahamas and specialized in air transport. The airline is listed on the Colombian Stock Exchange.

In October 2009 it was announced that Avianca would merge with TACA but they have stated that each will maintain their own identity and operate separately.[2]



SCADTA (1919 - 1940)

Avianca Airbus A320
Avianca's business class on the Airbus A330. All of Avianca's Airbuses will have the same entertainment system.
Avianca Building in Bogotá. Former Avianca's headquarters.
In 1976 Avianca became the first Latin American airline to continuously operate a Boeing 747.
Avianca's logo from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.

The airline traces its history back to December 5, 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 its first flight between Barranquilla and the nearby town of Puerto Colombia, aboard a Junkers F.13, wherein 57 pieces of mail were transported; 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 in order to be able to efficiently operate in the climatic conditions of the country; there were nine aircraft in the fleet with a total range of 850 km (525 Mi) and 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, two seaplanes were adapted to the Junkers aircraft, in order for them to accomplish water landings in the rivers of different towns. Using these floats, Helmuth Von Krohn was able to perform the first inland flight over Colombia on October 20, 1920, following the course of the Magdalena River; the flight took eight hours and had to make four emergency landings in the water.

Soon after the vision of the founding group had become a reality, 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. This new contract allowed SCADTA to thrive in a new frontier of aviation. By the mid 1920s, SCADTA, having overcome many obstacles, inaugurated its first international routes that initially covered destinations in Venezuela and the United States. Regretfully, in 1924, the aircraft that both Ernesto Cortissoz and Helmuth Von Krohn were piloting, crashed into an area currently known as Bocas de Ceniza in Barranquilla, causing their deaths. Despite this tragedy, the airline continued to thrive under the guidance of German Peter von Braun until the early 1940s, where circumstances related to the outbreak of World War II forced him to sell his shares in the airline to the US-owned Pan American World Airways.

National Airways of Colombia (1940 - 1994)

On June 14, 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 act: (Rafael María Palacio, Jacobo A. Corea, Cristobal Restrepo, Aristides Noguera) and German citizens Alberto Teitjen, Werner Kaemerer and Stuart Hosie, while the post of first President of Avianca was filled by Martín del Corral.

There had been decades of dedicated work and contribution to Colombia's development through actions, among which the following may be highlighted:

  • In September 1920, with Fritz Hammer as pilot, Wilhem Schnurrbush as copilot and Stuart Hosie as a passenger, SCADTA accomplished its first flight between Barranquilla and Puerto Berrío.
  • On October 19 of that same year, Helmuth Von Krohn accomplished the first flight between Barranquilla and Girardot and by 1921 routes between Barranquilla, Girardot and Neiva were established.
  • In 1922, SCADTA began to provide airmail service.
  • In August 1922, General Pedro Nel Ospina, then President of Colombia, used a SCADTA aircraft to conduct official business for the first time.
  • On July 19, 1923, to save the country from bankruptcy, SCADTA transported a gold and currency load from Puerto Berrío to Girardot.
  • On July 12, 1928, a SCADTA Junkers F.13, commanded by Pilot Herbert Boy, crossed the Equator.
  • On July 23, 1929, regular routes between Girardot and Bogotá were established.
  • The cost of the first SCADTA air tickets were as follows: from Bogotá to Barranquilla, COP $75; from Bogotá to Cartagena, COP $85; from Bogotá to Cartago, COP $35; and from Bogotá to Santiago de Cali, COP $50.
  • On July 16, 1931, SCADTA established the first mail service between Bogotá and New York City.
  • In 1937, the airline acquired 10 Boeing 247 twin-engine aircraft, extending its domestic routes.
  • By October 1939, Avianca acquired the first Douglas DC-3 aircraft arriving in the country, flying at the then-incredible speed of 200 miles per hour.
  • Beginning in 1946, Avianca inaugurated flights to Quito, Lima, Panama City, Miami, New York City and finally Europe, using Douglas DC-4 and C-54 Skymaster aircraft,.
  • In 1951, Avianca acquired the Lockheed 749 Constellation and the 1049 Super Constellation aircraft, the biggest and fastest at the time.
  • A grand feat in Colombian commercial aviation was also conducted by Avianca in 1956, when the airline committed to take the Colombian delegation, that was to participate in the Melbourne Olympic Games in Australia. There were 61 hours of continuous operation, with only one stop for refueling allowed.
  • Four years later, in 1961, Avianca leased two Boeing 707 aircraft, to operate its international routes and on November 2, 1961, it acquired its own Boeing 720s, baptizing them with the names Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander.
  • The year 1976 was an important one for Avianca, becoming 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.
  • In 1981, the possibilities for in-ground service for passengers in Bogotá expanded, thanks to the modern air terminal that Avianca commissioned: Avianca's Air Bridge. The new terminal originally operated routes to Miami, New York City, Santiago de Cali, Medellín, Pasto and Montería.
  • By 1990, Avianca had acquired the most modern aircraft in the world: two Boeing 767-200ERs, which were baptized with the names Cristóbal Colón and Américo Vespucio.

Avianca's System (1994 - 2002)

In 1994, a strategic alliance was established to merge three of the most important enterprises of the aeronautical sector of Colombia: Avianca, the regional carrier SAM and the helicopter operator Helicol, which brought life to Avianca's new system of operations. This system offered specialized services in Cargo (Avianca Cargo) and postal services, as well as the most modern fleet in Latin America made up of: Boeing B767-200, Boeing 767-300, Boeing 757–200, McDonnell Douglas MD-83, Fokker 50 and Bell helicopters.

This new system covered the following destinations:

By 1996, Avianca Postal Services evolved into Deprisa, providing express mail services through its products Deprisa and Deprisa Empresarial, traditional mail, certified mail, shipment airport-to-airport and P.O. boxes.

On December 10, 1998, Avianca announced the inception of a new "connections center" in Bogotá, offering around 6,000 possible weekly connecting flights and an increased number of frequencies, schedules and destinations, taking advantage of the privileged geographical location of the country's capital, for the benefit of Colombian and international travellers between South America, Europe and North America.

In addition to its Avianca Connection, and alliance partnerships, Avianca offers frequent flyer partnerships with the following airlines:

Summa Alliance (2002 - 2004)

After a rigorous and complex process, the worldwide aviation industry came through 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 May 20, 2002. These three airlines decided to strategically merge their strengths, to offer a more efficient service, with concerns to quality, quantity, security and competition in a new struggling marketplace. However, adverse circumstances within the industry and markets, forced the alliance to disband and airline shareholders decided to initiate the liquidation of Alianza Summa in November 2003, to focus in strengthening the Avianca trademark. These decisions resulted in the liquidation of ACES Colombia altogether and the acquisition of SAM Colombia, as a regional carrier under Avianca's system.

American Continent Airways (2004 - Present)

On December 10, 2004, Avianca concluded one of the most important and ambitious reorganization processes, 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 dollars, in the 13 months following withdrawal from C-11.

Airbus A330 economy class cabin

The plan, with the support of 99.8% of the voting creditors and which obtained the majority endorsement of the Creditors Committee, will enter into force once the Company emerges from bankruptcy. In accordance with United States laws, the administration has the trust obligation to consider any other investment proposal until the final term expiration stipulated. Notwithstanding, such an offer, besides being better than the one that has been approved by Avianca's domestic and international creditors and confirmed today by the Court, must be final, i.e. fully financed and backed with non-reimbursable cash deposits or equivalent mechanisms. Likewise, such proposal must be binding. As known, the only investment that complies with these requirements is that of OceanAir/Synergy Group and the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, which already makes part of the reorganization plan already voted favorably, by the creditors and confirmed by the Judge.

Synergy Group is an evidenced, credit-worthy Brazilian entrepreneurial conglomerate. Its strength lies in the oil sector, building, installing and offering maintenance to offshore oil platforms; it is currently carrying out exploration work in Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. Other businesses include: the extraction of gas in the United States, naval construction, telephony infrastructure, hydroelectric power plants, communications and a hydrocarbons marine exploration company, which extends throughout nine countries, with more than 5,000 workers.

It also owns and operates OceanAir, which services around thirty cities in Brazil, as well as VIP, an airline in Ecuador, Taxi Aero, a charter airline in Brazil and the recently acquired Wayra, in Peru, as well as Turb Serv, dedicated to the maintenance of turbines.

In 2009, OceanAir and VIP Ecuador will be rebranded as Avianca, to consolidate as one airline, following the ambitious expansion plans of the airline.

Avianca-TACA alliance (since 2009)

The merger of Colombia's Avianca and Salvadoran-based TACA is the latest sign that consolidation in the Latin American airline sector is picking up.

The newly formed Holdco - which will be controlled jointly by Avianca and TACA - instantly becomes one of the region's largest airlines after Brazil's TAM and GOL , with 129 aircraft and flights to more than 100 destinations.

In November 2009, the airline's Chief Executive Fabio Villegas announced that the airline is looking to replace its Fokker 50 and Fokker 100 aircraft with newer aircraft of 100 seats or less. The 10 Fokker 50s and 15 Fokker 100s are currently operated on flights shorter than one-and-a-half hours. Aircraft manufacured by Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier Aerospace are being considered for the replacement. [3]


Avianca and its subsidiaries.

Former subsidiaries


Shareholders of Avianca-TACA Ltd.
Shareholder Share Notes
Synergy Group Corp. 66.66% (2/3) It is Avianca's speaker and is owned by Germán Efromovich.
Kingsland Holding Ltd. 33.33% (1/3) It is TACA's speaker and is owned by Kriete family.
Total 100% (1) -
Subsidiaries of Avianca-TACA Ltd.
Company Share Notes
Avianca S.A. (Avianca) 100% -
TACA International S.A. (TACA) 90% Avianca owns the 10% left
Avianca's subsidiaries
Company Share Notes
AeroGal 80% TACA owns the 20% left
Capital Airlines  ?% Technical cooperation agreement
Helicol 100% -
OceanAir 100% -
SAM 100% -
Tampa Cargo 100% -
VarigLog  ?% Financial recovery agreement
VIP 100% -
TACA 10% -
TurbServ 100% -
TACA's subsidiaries
Company Share Notes
Aeroman 100% -
Lacsa 86.98% -
Volaris 25% (1/4) -
TACA Perú 49% -
Aviateca 100% -
Aeroperlas  ?% -
Isleña 20% -
AeroGal 20% Avianca owns the 80% left
La Costeña  ?% -
Sansa 86.98% It is wholly owned by Lacsa


Avianca's hub is in Bogotá at El Dorado International Airport. Its focus cities are: Medellín, Santiago de Cali, Cartagena and Barranquilla, as well as Miami, where Avianca is the largest foreign carrier by number of passengers.

Avianca's expansion during 2008 has added three new international destinations, with new flights to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Washington, D.C. and San José, Costa Rica, as well as new frequencies to Curaçao, Valencia, Venezuela, Santiago, Chile, New York, Madrid and Barcelona, that help strengthen the hub in Bogota.

Avianca has also been granted service to Orlando, Florida, but the airline has not yet announced a start date for that service.

Avianca has recently gotten slots at London's Heathrow airport. This means that the airline has plans to resume services to London in the next coming months, depending on the delivery of the next few A330s.

The airline has also received autorization from colombian authorities to fly to Guatemala and El Salvador via Costa Rica.


Avianca's subsidiaries destinations
Company № of destinarions Coming destinations Notes
Avianca 49 - Main article: Avianca destinations
AeroGal 9 - Main article: AeroGal destinations
Capital Airlines 4 - Main article: Capital Airlines destinations
Helicol  ? - Main article: Helicol destinations
OceanAir 23 - Main article: OceanAir destinations
SAM See: Avianca - Main article: SAM destinations
Tampa Cargo 20 - Main article: Tampa Cargo destinations
VarigLog 16 - Main article: VarigLog destinations
VIP 6 - Main article: VIP destinations
TACA 26 - Main article: TACA destinations
Lacsa 21 - Main article: Lacsa destinations
TACA Perú 22 - Main article: TACA Perú destinations
Volaris 25 - Main article: Volaris destinations
Aviateca 5 - Main article: Aviateca destinations
Aeroperlas 12 - Main article: Aeroperlas destinations
Isleña 10 - Main article: Isleña destinations
La Costeña 10 - Main article: La Costeña destinations
Sansa 15 - Main article: Sansa destinations
Total - - This total doesn't include repeated destinations

Codeshare agreements

Presently, Avianca has codeshare agreements with:

Avianca VIP Lounges

Avianca has VIP lounges at the following airports:



Avianca Tours

Avianca Tours is Avianca's commercial division specializing in the design and offer of tour packages, for destinations in Colombia and abroad.

Avianca Tours offers packages to:


The Avianca fleet consists of the following aircraft:

Avianca Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
J Y Total
Airbus A319-100 5 11 12 108 120
Airbus A320-200 14 25 12 138 150
Airbus A330-200 5 5 30 222 251
Airbus A350-800 0 10 TBA
Boeing 757-200 4 0 12 158 170
Boeing 767-200ER 2 0 25 161 186
Boeing 767-300ER 2 0 24 188 212
Boeing 787-8 0 12 TBA
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 4 0 12 135 147
Fokker 50 10 0 0 50 50
Fokker 100 15 0 8 89 97
Total 61 58

Source: CH-Aviation Last update: March 8, 2010


Avianca's subsidiaries fleet
Company Fleet Status
Avianca 61 Scheduled
AeroGal 14 Scheduled
Capital Airlines 2 Scheduled
Helicol See Avianca's Fleet Charter
OceanAir 27 Scheduled
SAM See Avianca's Fleet Scheduled
Tampa Cargo 4 Cargo
VarigLog 6 Cargo
VIP 3 Scheduled
TACA 47 Scheduled
Lacsa 15 Scheduled
TACA Perú 2 Scheduled
Volaris 21 Scheduled
Aviateca 3 Scheduled
Aeroperlas 7 Scheduled
Isleña 3 Scheduled
La Costeña 6 Scheduled
Sansa 14 Scheduled
Total 235 -

Source: CH-Aviation Last update: October 10, 2009


Avianca mainline past fleet since 1919
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A319 2008
Airbus A320 2008
Airbus A330-200 2008
Fokker 100 2005 2012
Fokker 50 1993 2012
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 1992 2010
Boeing 757-200 1992 2010
Boeing 767-300 1994 2010
Boeing 767-200 1989 2010
Boeing 727-200 1978 1998
Boeing 727-100 1966 1992
Boeing 747 1976 1995
Boeing 707 1969 1992
Boeing 720 1962 1984
Boeing 737 1971 1972
Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation 1958 1968
Lockheed L-749 Constellation 1956 1968
Douglas C-54 Skymaster 1948 1975
Douglas DC-4 1945 1970
Douglas DC-3 1939 1975
Junkers F.13 1921 1940

Awards and nominations






Incidents and accidents

The airline suffered a few incidents during the 1980s and early 1990s. Many were caused by warring gangs, under the assumption that a member of a rival gang was aboard. 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 26 April 1990, M-19 presidential candidate Carlos Pizarro was gunned down during a domestic Avianca flight.[2][3]

Other incidents include:

Private bus services in the United States

In the United States, Avianca operates a private bus service from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Union City and Elizabeth in New Jersey.[5]

Popular culture


  1. ^ Burden, William Armistead Moale. The Struggle for Airways in Latin America (reprint), p.73. Arno Press, New York, 1977. ISBN 0405097166
  2. ^ "Latin American airlines to merge". BBC Online (BBC): pp. 1. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  3. ^ Avianca looking to replace Fokkers
  4. ^ Jamaica Observer, "From Avianca to CanJet: MoBay Airport at Centre of J'can Aviation History", 22 April 2009 (accessed 25 April 2009)
  5. ^ "Board in New Jersey and Get off in Latin America." Avianca. Retrieved on January 27, 2009.

External links



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