ROUTES AMERICAS: Veca Airlines Makes Preparations for April Launch

New El Salvador carrier, Veca Airlines, has already taken delivery of the first of two Airbus A319s it will use to inaugurate services during the second quarter of this year. The carrier is in the final stages of its formation and expects to hear back from local regulatory authority Autoridad de Aviación Civil (ACC) within the next month on its application for an Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC).

The start-up intends to bring competition into the Central American market following the recent merger of Avianca and TACA. Speaking to The HUB Daily on the sidelines of this year’s Routes Americas forum in San Salvador, El Salvador, Edgar Hasbun, president, Veca Airlines confirmed that the project is at an advanced stage and final decisions on its launch plans are now taking place.

“We are right now in the final stages of gaining our permits to fly and anticipate getting all our approvals from the El Salvador authorities by the end of March, allowing us to start flying in the last week of April,” he confirmed.

The airline will launch operations with two Airbus A319s acquired from lessor International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). The first of these, a former Cyprus Airways aircraft, has already been delivered to the carrier, while its sistership is being prepared in Miami, USA ahead of its official handover to the start-up. Both aircraft will be configured in a single-class, 144-seat Economy arrangement.

According to Hasbun a final decision on the airline’s ground and in-flight product will be taken as all necessary permits are awarded. He described the carrier as a “high efficiency” operator rather than “low-cost” but its arrival is sure to influence the current dynamics of the Central American market and stimulate demand. “There is a big need for new entrants in Central America,” said Hasbun. “Air travel is currently very expensive.”

No decision has yet been taken on the carrier’s proposed launch routes but its network is likely to encompass the main capitals of Central America and important cities like San Pedro-Sula in Honduras and Liberia in Costa Rica.

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