VivaColombia to begin international flights in Q3 2014

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Medellin-based VivaColombia will launch its first international service in the third quarter of 2014, and six new domestic routes from a new base in Bogota.

In the third quarter of 2014, the airline will begin non-stop service between Medellin and Panama City, and between Bogota and Panama City. In the fourth quarter, it will launch Bogota-Lima flights.

A VivaColombia spokesperson says the airline has also received approvals to launch flights to Mexico City and Cancun from Medellin, but does not plan to begin these flights in 2014.

The six new domestic routes from Bogota are: Pereira, San Andrés, Montería, Cúcuta, Bucaramanga and Santa Marta.

The airline will add two Airbus A320 family aircraft to its fleet of five aircraft, says the spokesperson. The two new A320s will be based in Bogota, she says.

Recent reports quote Declan Ryan, who has a share in VivaColombia through the Irelandia fund, as saying that the airline could operate 50 aircraft "within a few years". Ryan's family founded Ryanair.

VivaColombia executive chairman Juan Emilio Posada told Flightglobal in November that the airline plans to announce a fleet expansion decision soon.

VivaAerobus, the Mexican corporate sibling of VivaColombia, announced in October an order for 52 A320s.

In October 2013, almost one and a half year after its launch, VivaColombia has become Colombia's third largest airline with a 9.4% market share, trailing Avianca and LAN Colombia, but surpassing Copa Colombia as it nearly doubled its October 2012 traffic.

The Colombian market continues to be one of the fastest growing domestic markets worldwide, with the January to October 2013 traffic exceeding that of the same period in the previous year by 18.6%. VivaColombia was responsible for nearly half of the growth in domestic air traffic for these months.

The Colombian domestic traffic volume, in which VivaColombia aspires to reach a market share of 25% within the next couple of years, is predicted to come close to 20 million passengers for the full year in 2013.

With additional reporting by Ghim-Lay Yeo