Alfonso Ávila Velandia

President, Easyfly

We started in some places that were not popular five years ago, like Yopal and Arauca. Those small cities have developed a lot since we started. Yopal is now a medium-sized city, the capital of Casanare department, where 80% of the oil-exporting companies are based. We started with two flights daily; now we have 12 flights daily and the traffic is increasing by 50% annually. We are planning to open a new route from Barranquilla to Aruba and from Bogotá to Valledupar. There are still many medium-sized cities in Colombia that have not been connected yet, and we plan to connect them efficiently with point-to-point services. Bucaramanga and Pereira are large cities, but in order to get from one to the other, you have to go through Bogotá. When we started the company, Cartagena and Barranquilla were the fifth and sixth largest cities in the country, but in order to get to Cartagena, passengers had to come to Bogotá and spend three or four hours in the airport. It was like flying to New York. We can now offer the same flights from Bucaramanga-Cartagena and Bucaramanga-Barranquilla in an hour. Arauca is another popular route because there is oil exploration there. In 2012, we carried 600,000 passengers. We plan to grow between 30% and 40%, so we should have around 800,000 passengers over 2013. We've already bought the aircraft, and we are fixing them to accommodate the new numbers. We have 13 aircraft in total.


Carlos Eduardo Montealegre Rodríguez

President, Satena

Our major achievements have been related to changes in the fleet and service. We started operations with older planes back in 1962, but more than 10 years prior to that the Air Force launched this enterprise as a service for Colombia's isolated territories. Then the government decided to formalize the service and Satena became an airline, separate from the Air Force but still very attached to it. Therefore, we have operated services as Satena for 50 years, but even more with the Air Force. We started with DC3s, DC4s, PBY Catalina, and Beavers. We have made some changes to the fleet, but we still offer the same service. Even now, we still serve the same destinations that we did 50 years ago, because it is a social service and other airlines are not interested in traveling to isolated destinations. Satena is not like basic airlines in Colombia, whose main purpose is commercial so as to make revenues for their shareholders. The principle mission for Satena, the Air Force, and the Minister of Defense is to integrate Colombia and serve remote territories through Satena. This provides people in those areas with more chances for economic and social development. We expect numbers to be more or less the same as in 2011, because we are in the process of renewing the fleet. In 2011, we serviced almost 1 million passengers. As we have been changing the fleet, we lost some of the seats for sale, and we expect to end the year with similar numbers.


Frederik Jacobsen

President & CEO, VIVA Colombia

We are operating A320-200s, which is an excellent aircraft for our target market. This broke the preconception in Colombia that if you are a new airline entering the market you start with small aircraft. The A320-200 can hold up to 180 passengers. The more seats we can put on an airplane, the lower the cost per seat. We looked at a number of aircraft from the smallest to the largest, and the A320 offered us reliability and efficiency, and so we decided to use the A320. In the first four months of operations, the reliability of the aircraft was 99.6%, which is very high; we are delighted with the aircraft. The concept of the airline is completely different. The first European and American airplanes were very comfortable and luxurious. The airlines have always focused on the services that will generate more revenue to get those types of passengers on board. However, what some started to realize approximately 25 years ago is that when a passenger needs to travel for short distances they are willing to forego many luxuries. In the traditional airline model the problem is that they offer many services that the passenger does not want: they offer TVs, VIP lounges, international connectivity, and world alliances. The reality is that the majority of passengers—close to 80%—will never travel internationally. We conducted a survey, and the most popular answers were safety, then the price, financing, and finally performance.


ADVERTISEMENT