VivaColombia plans to announce up to three new international destinations in 2016, as it prepares to launch its first service to the USA.

The Medellin-based carrier's chief executive Juan Emilio Posada declines to elaborate on where the airline plans to fly to, but notes that it would "love" to offer service to Caracas.

This is despite ongoing frustration by foreign airlines serving Venezuela, due to a hold-up in the repatriation of airline revenue.

Posada tells Flightglobal that VivaColombia will be able to offer "very, very low fares" to the market. "We don't have baggage like the other airlines [that have been serving Venezuela]," he says in a reference to the repatriation issues.

The airline is also eyeing two or three new domestic destinations in Colombia in 2016. Posada notes that the domestic market is performing better than international flights for the airline currently. "The purchasing power of Colombians [abroad] has gone down," he says, pointing to the depreciation of the Colombian peso.

VivaColombia will begin service to Miami from both Medellin and Bogota next month. Forward bookings so far look healthy, says Posada, noting that December is the high travel season.

The carrier already serves Panama City, Lima and Quito in its international network. VivaColombia operates to Panama City via Panama Pacifico airport, where it is the only scheduled carrier. The carrier, however, is unhappy that passenger fees at the airport have gone up recently.

Posada says the fees that the airport charges for each passenger has risen from $15 to more than $30 currently, and is set to rise further to more than $40 in 2016. Posada expresses displeasure at this increase: "Which hotel tries to make money off their first customer?"

The airline remains in negotiations with the airport, he says. "If we don't come to a mutually convenient agreement, we will have to go to Tocumen."

Tocumen is the city's main international airport, and is dominated by Copa Airlines.

VivaColombia operates an all-Airbus A320 fleet, with eight of the type. It will take delivery of a 9th aircraft in December, followed by a 10th in April. Both aircraft are being leased from GECAS.

The airline will decide in December after its board meeting if it requires further aircraft in the future, says Posada.

Source: Cirium Dashboard