Spirit's Biffle to become CEO at VivaColombia

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Spirit Airlines chief marketing officer Barry Biffle has resigned to become chief executive of Colombian low-cost carrier VivaColombia.

Biffle will take on his new post effective 15 August, says Medellin-based VivaColombia.

"I'm honoured and extremely excited to join VivaColombia. South America presents one of the greatest opportunities in the world from a LCC [low-cost carrier] perspective and low fares will help transform the economic landscape in the region by increasing tourism and commerce to new levels," says Biffle in a statement.

The airline's chairman Juan Emilio Posada says: "After conducting a worldwide search, we are delighted that an executive of Barry's calibre and experience will be joining us as our CEO. We are looking forward to working with Barry as we establish VivaColombia as the region's leading low fare airline, expanding the airline's operations regionally."

Biffle, also executive vice president at Spirit, joined the Florida-based carrier in 2005. Prior to joining Spirit, he worked at US Airways and American Eagle Airlines. Biffle was a key figure behind Spirit's transformation into an ultra low-cost carrier, as the airline expanded its network steadily and grew its ancillary revenue portfolio in recent years.

He will relocate with his family to Medellin in the coming weeks, says VivaColombia. Biffle will replace Mike Szucs, who has been acting CEO at the carrier since former chief executive Frederik Jacobsen left the airline for personal reasons earlier this year, says a VivaColombia spokesperson.

VivaColombia began operations in May 2012 and operates a fleet of five Airbus A320s to domestic destinations.