Avianca has revived plans to launch a regional carrier with its fleet of ATR 72 turboprops, and will base the airline in Bogota.
The Star Alliance carrier says in a securities filing that it has incorporated Regional Express Americas, a new company that will provide transportation and other services.
Regional Express Americas has applied to Colombian civil aviation authority Aerocivil to operate a number of domestic routes that Avianca currently operates.
According to an Aerocivil document, the regional airline plans to operate service from Bogota to Yopal, Florencia, Ibague, Manizales, Popayan and Villavicencio. It also plans to start service between Cali and Tumaco.
These flights are already being operated by Avianca's mainline operations with the ATR 72s, with a handful of them also served by LATAM Airlines Colombia and Satena, FlightGlobal schedules data show.
An Avianca spokesperson confirms the plans for Regional Express Americas, but declines to share further details pending regulatory approvals.
The idea of Regional Express Americas is not new for Avianca. The Bogota-based carrier had previously wanted to begin a new Panama-based regional carrier under the same name but scrapped that plan in 2013, choosing to operate the ATRs within its mainline fleet. The decision to drop the planned subsidiary came after opposition from Avianca's pilots.
Avianca and its subsidiaries operate 11 ATR 72-600s, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. The airline's spokesman declines to comment on whether the carrier could add more ATR turboprops, pending a formal announcement with more details about Regional Express Americas.
Avianca's majority shareholder Synergy Aerospace has 10 ATR 72-600s on order, for delivery in 2019 and 2020, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. Avianca Argentina, which is wholly owned by Synergy but is separate from the Avianca group, also has an order for 10 ATR 72-600s.
Source: Cirium Dashboard