Avianca Brazil forced to suspend operations

An Airbus A320-200 of Avianca Brazil. Photo: © Diego Nascimento

Brazil’s civil aviation authority ANAC has suspended all flight operations of Avianca Brazil, as a ‘precautionary measure’.

Before this stop of operations on Friday, the airline was only carrying out about 30 flights per day, with the few aircraft it had left in its fleet.

Avianca Brazil had filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2018, shortly after the airline was forced to return 11 aircraft to US-based lessor Aircastle over unpaid leasing fees. Since then, Avianca Brazil has returned or grounded even more aircraft and cancelled thousands of flights. As of last month, the airline was only operating five aircraft; down from more than 50 in December.

Some assets of the airline, such as takeoff and landing slots for various airports and leasing rights for returned aircraft, are being auctioned to other airlines.

In a statement published on Friday, Avianca Brazil confirmed that is continuing to work on its restructuring process, and looks to restart operations. The airline says it would comply with local regulations regarding refunds and rebookings for cancelled flights.

Avianca Brazil, officially Oceanair Linhas Aéreas S/A, is owned by Sao Paulo-based Synergy Group, but is not part of the Colombian Avianca Holdings, despite using the same name and branding. Avianca Holdings itself recently stated that it is concerned over the status of it’s Brazilian affiliate. Even though the two companies are not directly connected, the current situation of Avianca Brazil causes damage to the image of the whole Avianca brand, which operates subsidiaries in most South American, and several Central American countries.