Avianca Brasil Files For Bankruptcy, Ends Flights To Miami & New York

Avianca Brasil has been around for over 15 years, though only fairly recently expanded internationally. The airline is currently Brasil’s fourth largest airline. They used to just operate domestic flights, with a fleet of about 50 narrowbody Airbus aircraft.

However, a couple of years back the airline had lofty international expansion goals, and had plans for 10 A330-200s as well as 10 A350-900s to join their fleet over the coming years, so that they could become a global carrier.

Among their international routes were new flights from Sao Paulo to the US, operated using A330-200s:

Unfortunately the airline hasn’t been doing well financially, and in December 2018 filed for bankruptcy. They blamed high fuel prices (at the time) and a strong USD for their issues.

Several of their leasing companies wanted their planes back due to Avianca Brasil’s financial situation, with the potential for 30% of their planes to immediately be repossessed.

On top of that, the airline owed tens of millions of dollars to airports due to lack of payment, and their debt has continued to grow.

So unfortunately Avianca Brasil is getting rid of their A330s (and many other planes), and as part of that, they’re also ending international flying.

Avianca Brasil will be ending flights to Miami and New York as of March 31, 2019. So that means neither route even lasted two years.

Lastly, for anyone who is worried about the value of their Avianca LifeMiles, you shouldn’t be worried (at least for now). While Avianca Brasil is owned by Synergy Group, which also controls Avianca Holdings (which Avianca Colombia is part of), the airlines are run separately, and are in very different financial positions.

Bottom line

It’s unfortunate that Avianca Brasil has been doing so poorly, and in particular that they couldn’t make their international flying profitable.

They were going up against the powerhouse of American and LATAM in both of these markets, so it’s tough to compete with that with a single flight to each city.

Did anyone have a chance to fly Avianca Brasil between Sao Paulo and the US?

Comments

  1. Flew them twice from Miami and was not impressed despite a better hard product compared to the LATAM pos (for now as the new business is coming). But, let’s face it, there is no S.A. carrier with any good Intl. Business product with the exception (barely) of Azul.

    With LATAM shutting down its Rio to U.S. flights next year (and now this) we are seeing capacity shrinking from the two important business centers. This will mean difficult redemptions unless you want to fly Copa via PCY. It will be interesting to see if Azul looks at GRU for a FLL flight. Their flights and service are very popular with Brazilians but VCP is a HAUL.

  2. @Lucky – thanks for the reassurance re: Lifemiles, but in theory – if Lifemiles went down with the ship, would there be an impact on *A partner award tickets, booked with Lifemiles, that have already been ticketed?

  3. I’m flying them tonight for JFK, and back to GRU next week. They have 4 A330-200 on rotation, but one (PR-OBS) is an ex-Avianca Colombia fitted with a dated cabin. I’m not expecting much from the crew, as morale should be fairly low with this news.

    And though LifeMiles should stay intact, those with Amigo Avianca points have a lot to lose. Since last year’s devaluation, with Star Alliance Award redemptions skyrocketing as much as 400%, these US flights were pretty much what was left of any value in the program.

  4. “With LATAM shutting down its Rio to U.S. flights next year”

    what source is this? I don’t see anything about this

  5. @George

    Thanks, Whoa! I always fly LATAM to Rio. Shame, I am going to be stuck with American. Service was better with LATAM.

  6. L atam will end all there services to us from Rio this year. And AA is ending their GIG-JFK this year too. So many bas news for GIG flyers.

  7. Too bad. Actually, I flew AVIANCA JFK-GRU couple of month ago. They had Porsche Design amenities and great reverse herribone seats in their A330.
    But last month, I flew BOGGRU right after the Chapter 11, and they suddenly changed the A330 to A320 only economy class.
    As now, I could not get any money back from them …

  8. Ben you should review it before it’s too late! Do Avianca on the outbound and try AZUL business on the way back! Two reviews you still dont have.

    This is sad but not surprising. When they launched the GRU-JFK they invited a TON of famous Brazilian influencers to post about their flight, and now they’re going bankrupt…sad. WIll they still fly inside Brasil?

  9. My guess is that they will still fly within Brazil. It will also be interesting to see what happens when the Brazilian government ends the visa requirement for US citizens. Will that help? I’ve flown on Avianca, Gol and Latam domestically in Brazil and they are pretty much the same. I haven’t flown on azul because they have usually been more expensive than the others.

  10. Yeah, Lucky.
    Review Avianca Brazil, and from GRU you can take the AZ 777-200 to Rome and the E75 to Milan.
    Fares R/T are as low as USD1642 w/tax

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