Authorities suspend Avianca Brasil operations

Avianca Brasil operations were suspended by the ANAC, the Brazilian authority for civil aviation, “as a precautionary measure”.

All flights will be suspended until the carrier proves its ability to ensure the safety of operations, states the ANAC. The decision was made on May 24, 2019, based on information on the company’s operations provided by the flight safety department of the authority. The authority points out that a similar decision was about to be taken by the carrier, and reminds that the carrier is legally entitled to repay or book a flight with another carrier for their passengers. About 30 flights per day were being operated at the time of the suspension.

After a year of financial struggle, Avianca Brasil had been put under bankruptcy protection since December 2018. This status was granted after three leasing companies, including BOC Aviation and Aircastle subsidiary Constitution Aircraft Leasing, have demanded the Brazilian carrier for the return of some 30% of the carrier’s fleet. Since then, its number of aircraft has shrunk from about 50 to 6. Out of its remaining fleet, Four A318s could be returned to Airbus, leaving the airline with just two planes to operate.

The airline planned to cut 900 jobs, as well as auction some of its assets to repay debts. But immobilization could jeopardize its most valuable assets: slots in some of the most active Brazilian airports, namely Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont, Sao Paulo Congonhas and Sao Paulo Guarulhos. If those are not used, Avianca’s (AVHOQ) rights on them could be revoked by the local authorities. At least three companies (Azul (AZUL) , LATAM Airlines and GOL) have already expressed their interest for the prized slots.

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