By Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
Avianca Continues Transition to Low-Cost Structure
Everything seems to indicate that Avianca will be changing in its traditional operating model for the low-cost model. As announced In recent weeks, the Colombian carrier has put major focus on drastically reducing its expenses, working on cutting costs while, according to all reports, scaling back its service significantly.
Apparently now, Avianca is destined to become a low-cost airline, likely abandoning the idea of competing with high-level airlines in Latin America.
In this new “Avianca low-cost,” the Colombian airline would be leaving in the background the quality of service, comfort and modernity of its aircraft that it had become known for throughout the continent, thus prioritizing prices, which would be cheaper.
The reason for this change in the model of one of the historically largest airlines in Latin America is due to the level of Avianca’s debts and the Chapter 11 restructuring process it is currently undergoing, which is not be allowing it to compete in the market to the same degree it has been. Due to this situation, the only real way out is to become a low-cost airline.
The changes recently announced by Avianca — with respect to the simplified structure with which it flies and the new efficiency that this will lead to — allow the Colombian carrier to compete with other airlines in the Colombian market as well as in the region.
Recently, Avianca announced that its domestic flights in Colombia will now operate with a single cabin, which will have different seat configurations.
The airline has indicated that this change constitutes an advance with the process of implementing the new business vision to be an airline where everyone can fly.
In order to have a simpler offer to fly within Colombia, the company will market a simpler fare scheme of four sizes — XS, S, M and L — for flights to as of Oct. 20, which allow the passenger to purchase other services in addition to the predetermined attributes of each fare, including the seat.
“We have the firm intention to increase the number of our passengers, and to achieve that goal, we need to offer the best prices in the market, as well as a more customizable service. With our four new fares: XS, S, M and L, the traveler will have the possibility to choose their flying experience and will also be able to select additional services. Our XS rate will offer even better prices and all complimentary services will be optional; while the L fare includes carry-on and hold luggage, the possibility of changes, greater accumulation of miles and access to any available chair at the time of check-in. Thus, all our clients will be able to decide what type of service they want to buy. It’s like going to a fast-food restaurant: if you want the combo, you order it and pay for it, but if you only want potatoes and soda, you order and pay only that,” explained Manuel Ambriz, Chief Commercial Officer.
In addition, the Colombian carrier will complete the process of total reconfiguration of the cabins of its aircraft in 2022, in which different types of seats will be available to passengers who will be able to access one or the other depending on their need and preference.