Viva Air emerges financially stronger despite the pandemic

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Viva Air emerges financially stronger despite the pandemic
Source: Twitter @VivaAirCol
Thu September 02, 2021

After 15 months of work framing the health crisis, the airline completes its strategic strengthening plans


By finding opportunities in challenging times, Viva demonstrates its financial strength and the benefits of its Low Cost model, after the deepest crisis in the history of global aviation and as one of the only airlines in South America that did not enter into Law. bankruptcy or sought protection from your creditors. Colombia imposed one of the longest airspace closures in the world; however, Viva emerges well positioned to allow its travelers to fly more, paying less. With the trust and support of its suppliers, lessors and partners, the airline was able to further reduce its unit costs to grow and make flying with Viva more attractive and affordable for its customers. Viva is now the second largest airline in Colombia with a 24% market share, leading the industry in punctuality performance and being the first airline certified in biosafety protocols in Colombia and Peru. In addition, and to further support its growth and expansion, Cartesian Capital Group becomes a minority investor for the Viva Group together with the pioneer developer of Low Cost airlines in the world, Irelandia Aviation.

“Viva found opportunities in challenging and crisis times, adapting to new ways of managing this complex business. Today we can proudly say that, with the commitment of our employees, the evolution of our strategies, and the support of our suppliers and lessors, we have consolidated our position as the leading low-cost airline to / from and within Colombia and Peru. I would like to thank the entire management team and Viva staff, along with our suppliers, lessors, government agencies and banks for their continued support, ”explained Félix Antelo, president and CEO of Grupo Viva. “Additionally, we are pleased to announce the addition of Cartesian as a minority partner for Grupo Viva. Your investment is a timely vote of confidence in our work, business and future ”.

The restructuring of Viva is a success story for the region and the industry. After close to six months without commercial flights being allowed in both Colombia and Peru, Viva made enormous efforts to preserve its financial base, reduce unit costs, accelerate the modernization of its fleet, and maintain its highly qualified work team, to thus, be prepared when it comes to resuming commercial flight operations in both countries. Unlike its competitors, Viva's restructuring was carried out organically in the market without the extraordinary and temporary support of the courts.

In total, more than 200 contracts with suppliers -including aircraft leases- were renegotiated in order to reduce general costs and payment times, to align the obligations with the reality of not having operated commercial flights in Colombia since March 2020 until September of the same year, and the capacity of the airports severely reduced since the restart of operation, which still continues partially today.

Cartesian Capital Group, a global private equity firm, has sponsored and participated in the development of dozens of transnational companies, including airlines such as Gol in Brazil and Flybondi in Argentina. Cartesian first partnered with Grupo Viva with $ 50 million in financing in May 2019 and has taken the next step in their relationship by becoming a minority shareholder. Irelandia Aviation, the world's leading Low Cost airline developer, remains a majority shareholder.

"Even in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, Viva has shown great resilience," said Peter Yu, Managing Partner of Cartesian. “Felix and the entire team have consistently demonstrated the agility, creativity and tenacity that make Viva a world-class airline. We look forward to the continued growth and success of Grupo Viva. "

Irelandia, Viva's majority shareholder, commented on how pleased they are to strengthen the relationship with Cartesian and Viva. "Cartesian has been a valued partner since 2019 and this is a tremendous vote of confidence in our business model and our team, which have seen Viva emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever," said John Goode, Partner at Irelandia. Aviation. "We are incredibly proud of Felix and all the staff members that make up the Viva family for their commitment and dedication in leading Viva through the toughest crisis the industry has ever seen."

Viva reaffirms the importance of the airline industry as a pillar of connectivity for the region, and maintains its commitment to contribute to the economic development of the countries to which it flies under its main premise: air inclusion. In turn, it is the leading Low Cost airline in Latin America that flies more than 31 national routes in Colombia and Peru, and seven international routes that include Colombia, Peru, Mexico and the United States.

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