Avianca files for bankruptcy protection in United States

An Avianca El Salvador A320neo, registered in the US. Photo: © Nathan Coats

Colombian airline group Avianca Holdings has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York.

The airline, which registers many of its planes and corporate entities in the United States, says this is ‘to preserve and reorganize’ its business amid the continuing Coronavirus pandemic that has led to a 90% in global air traffic, and forced Avianca to temporarily suspend passenger flight operations since mid-March.

Avianca is facing the most challenging crisis in our 100-year history as we navigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.Anko van der Werff, CEO of Avianca

Avianca celebrated its 100th anniversary in December 2019, making it the second oldest airline in the world that is still operating. It is also the second largest airline group in South and Central America after Brazil-Chilean LATAM Airlines.

The company is responsible for more than 21,000 jobs, about 14,000 of them located in its home country Colombia. At least half of the workforce has been put on temporary unpaid leave. Last month, Avianca warned that its survival is ‘in doubt’ because of the Coronavirus crisis and resulting financial effects. It stated that it may need to take further action to preserve its existence.