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Avianca S.A. (BVC: AVA) (Spanish acronym: Aerovías del Continente Americano, formerly Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia) is the flag carrier airline of Colombiamarker. Avianca was founded in Barranquillamarker 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). Today its main operation base and headquarters are in Bogotámarker, adjacent to the El Dorado International Airportmarker. 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 Holdco Holding Ltd., a Latin American holding company registered in the Bahamasmarker 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 Grupo TACA but they have stated that each will maintain their own identity and operate separately.

On December 5, 2009 the airline will celebrate its 90th anniversary.


SCADTA (1919 - 1940)

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 Colombiamarker, 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 Rivermarker; the flight took eight hours and had to make four emergency landings in the water.

Avianca's business class on the Airbus A330.
All of Avianca's Airbuses will have the same entertainment system.

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 Venezuelamarker and the United Statesmarker. 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 Germanmarker 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 Berríomarker.
  • On October 19 of that same year, Helmuth Von Krohn accomplished the first flight between Barranquilla and Girardotmarker and by 1921 routes between Barranquilla, Girardot and Neivamarker 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 Berríomarker 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 Cartagenamarker, COP $85; from Bogotá to Cartagomarker, COP $35; and from Bogotá to Santiago de Calimarker, COP $50.
  • On July 16 1931, SCADTA established the first mail service between Bogotá and New York Citymarker.
  • 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.
  • 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 Bridgemarker. The new terminal originally operated routes to Miami, New York City, Santiago de Cali, Medellínmarker, Pastomarker and Montería.
  • By 1990, Avianca had acquired the most modern aircraft in the world: two Boeing B767-200ERs, which were baptized with the names of Cristóbal Colón and Américo Vespucio.

Avianca's System (1994 - 2002)

Avianca's logo from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.
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 B767-300, Boeing B757–200, McDonnell Douglas MD83, 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 Colombiamarker, 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 Brazilianmarker 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.

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, Ecuadormarker 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 Perumarker, 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 planes and flights to more than 100 destinations.


Former subsidiaries


Shareholders of Holdco Holding 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 Holdco Holding Ltd.
Company Share Notes
Avianca 100% -
TACA 90% Avianca owns the 10% left

Avianca's subsidiaries
Company Share Notes
AeroGal 80% -
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% -
La Costeña ?% -
Sansa 86.98% It is wholly owned by Lacsa


Avianca's hub is in Bogotámarker at El Dorado International Airportmarker. Its focus cities are: Medellínmarker, Santiago de Calimarker, Cartagena and Barranquillamarker, as well as Miamimarker, 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 Republicmarker, Washington, D.C.marker and San José, Costa Ricamarker, as well as new frequencies to Curaçaomarker, Valencia, Venezuelamarker, Santiago, Chilemarker, New Yorkmarker, Madridmarker and Barcelonamarker, that help strengthen the hub in Bogota.

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


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 Int. 26 - Main article: TACA Int. 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 Colombiamarker and abroad.

Avianca Tours offers packages to:


The Avianca fleet consists of the following aircraft:
Avianca's fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers

Routes Notes
Airbus A319-115
120 12J/108Y
Deliveries: 2008/2011
Replacing McDonnell Douglas MD-80
Airbus A320-214
150 12J/138Y
Deliveries: 2008/2011
Replacing McDonnell Douglas MD-80
Airbus A330-243
252 30J/222Y
Deliveries: 2008/2011
Replacing Boeing 767-200/300
Boeing 757-200
170 12J/158Y
Exit from service: 2008/2010
Replacement Boeing 787/ Airbus A320
Boeing 767-200ER
185 24J/161Y
Exit from service: 2008/2010
Replacement Airbus A330/A350
To be converted to Avianca Cargo

Boeing 767-300ER
213 25J/188Y
Exit from service: 2008/2010
Replacement Airbus A330
To be converted to Avianca Cargo

Boeing 787-8
296 ??Y/???J
International long haul Entry into service: 2013
Replacing Boeing 767-200/300
McDonnell Douglas MD-83
147 12J/135Y
Exit from service: 2008/2010
Replacement Airbus A319/320
Fokker 100
97 8J/89Y
Operated by SAM
Fokker 50
52 0J/52Y
73 (+28 options)
- - -

Source: CH-Aviation Last update: November 5, 2009


Avianca's subsidiaries fleet
Company Fleet Status
Avianca 45 Scheduled
AeroGal 13 Scheduled
Capital Airlines - Scheduled
Helicol - Charter
OceanAir 14 Scheduled
SAM 16 Scheduled
Tampa Cargo 4 Cargo
VarigLog 5 Cargo
VIP 3 Scheduled
TACA 40 Scheduled
Lacsa 14 Scheduled
TACA Perú 3 Scheduled
Volaris 21 Scheduled
Aviateca 4 Scheduled
Aeroperlas 1 Scheduled
Isleña 4 Scheduled
La Costeña 6 Scheduled
Sansa 10 Scheduled
Total 203 -

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


Avianca's retired fleet
Aircraft Year of retirement Replacement
Junkers F.13 Boeing B247
Boeing B247 Douglas DC3
Douglas DC-3 Boeing B737
Douglas DC-4 Lockheed L-749 Constellation and Lockheed L-1049-G Super Constellation
Douglas C-54 Skymaster Lockheed L-749 Constellation and Lockheed L-1049-G Super Constellation
Lockheed L-749 Constellation Boeing B707 and Boeing B720
Lockheed L-1049-G Super Constellation Boeing B707 and Boeing B720
Boeing B707 1992 Boeing B757
Boeing B737 1971
Boeing B720 1984 Boeing B757
Boeing B747 1995 Boeing B767
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Boeing B757
Boeing B727 1998 McDonnell Douglas MD-83


Avianca's livery through time
Date Aircraft Notes
Early 1930s Junkers F.13 Avianca as SCADTA
November 1968 Boeing B737-159 -
April 1973 Boeing B727-24C -
June 1977 Boeing B747-124 Latin America Launch Customer
June 1979 Boeing B747-124 -
March 1980 Boeing B727-21 -
Mid 1980's Boeing B747-123 American Airlines colors
December 1980 Boeing B707-321C Pan Am colors
September 1988 Boeing B727-225/Adv Eastern Air Lines colors
December 1989 Boeing B727-225/Adv Eastern Air Lines colors
Early 1990s Boeing B757-23A -
Mid 1990's Boeing B747-128 Air Atlanta Icelandic colors
December 5, 1993 Boeing B757-236 Ambassador Airlines colors
April 1995 Boeing B727-2H3/Adv -
February 1998 Boeing B727-2H3/Adv Bancoquia Bank colors
August 16, 1998 Boeing B727-2A1/Adv ES: Tómese ya unas Aviancaciones. Usted se las merece.
EN: Take some Aviancations now; you deserve them.
January 1999 McDonnell Douglas MD-11ER World Airways colors
September 1999 Boeing B767-3S1/ER Grupo TACA colors
October 9, 2000 Boeing B757-2Q8 1960's colors
August 15, 2002 Boeing B767-284/ER Summa Alliance colors
October 28, 2002 Boeing B757-2Q8 ES: 80 años
EN: 80 years
October 24, 2003 Boeing B757-256 Aeromar Lineas Aereas Dominicanas colors
November 23, 2003 Boeing B757-236 TransMeridian Airlines colors
January 12, 2005 Boeing B757-208 Icelandair colors
April 17, 2005 Boeing B767-3Y0/ER ES: 85 años
EN: 85 years
October 22, 2005 Boeing B767-2B1/ER Current livery
December 30, 2005 Boeing B757-28A North American Airlines colors
July 8, 2006 Boeing B767-283/ER ES: Colombiamarker es pasión
EN: Colombiamarker is passion
July 18, 2007 Boeing B757-236 Juan Valdez livery

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.[12433][12434]

Other incidents include:

Private bus services in the United States

In the United Statesmarker, Avianca operates a private bus service from John F. Kennedy International Airportmarker to Union Citymarker and Elizabethmarker in New Jerseymarker.

Popular culture


External links



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