Colombian carrier Avianca will take delivery of its first Boeing 787-8 at the end of the third quarter of this year, but it will be early 2015 before the aircraft makes its debut on scheduled routes to Europe, the airline’s executive vice president and chief revenue officer, Estuardo Ortiz revealed on the sidelines of the Strategy Summit at this year’s Routes Americas in San Salvador, El Salvador.
“We will receive our first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in September and will use the aircraft to replace our Airbus A330-200s. This will allow us to serve more cities with much better economics than before.”Estuardo Ortiz, Estuardo Ortiz, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer
The former TACA executive, who has subsequently been part of the management team that has masterminded the amalgamation of the carrier into the Avianca operation over the past five years, revealed to a packed audience at the route development forum that the carrier would receive its first Dreamliner in September 2014 and later confirmed its operational plans to The HUB in a video interview which will be online tomorrow.
“We will receive our first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in September and will use the aircraft to replace our Airbus A330-200s. This will allow us to serve more cities with much better economics than before,” said Ortiz. “We plan to initially deploy the aircraft on familiarisation flights to close by markets such as Lima and Buenos Aires but will eventually, perhaps from early 2015, use them on our routes to Europe to Madrid and Barcelona in Spain and our new route to London Heathrow in the UK.”
The Colombian carrier has seen significant growth over the past four years, while it has worked to bring the operations of TACA and its partners under the Avianca umbrella. “Our goal through this process has been to build a single network, a single brand, a single aircraft code to form a single airline. This has been a difficult exercise as it has been a complex process to marry businesses with ten separate AOCs and more than 200 legal entities,” explained Ortiz. This is due for completion in March this year when the carrier will start to sell its operations under a single code.
This process now means that alongside its Colombian operations, Avianca now has a major Central American hub at El Salvador International Airport in San Salvador. “We see a lot of room to grow here and there is a clear opportunity to add more routes,” said Ortiz.
“We especially are looking forward to the arrival of our new Airbus A320neos which when deployed from San Salvador from late 2016 or early 2017 will open a whole new network structure and enable us to serve many of the markets we are restricted from currently flying thanks to the enhanced performance of the aircraft. It will change the DNA of our hub here in San Salvador,” he added.
Estuardo Ortiz, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Avianca, speaks to The HUB at Routes Americas.