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Avianca drops Boston and Chicago in network cuts

Avianca will cancel 11 routes beginning 1 May, and stop serving Boston and Chicago O'Hare as part of its plan to improve profitability.

The Star Alliance carrier will suspend service to Boston and Chicago from Bogota from 1 May, and end flights from Cartagena to both Pereira and New York John F Kennedy on the same day.

On 1 June, Avianca will drop service from Guatemala City to Chicago O'Hare, New York JFK and Orlando. It will also end flights from San Salvador to Boston, Cali and Cartagena beginning 1 June.

Avianca commercial vice-president Silvia Mosquera says the airline continues to study market opportunities and hopes to "eventually resume these operations when the time is right".

Some of the suspended routes were relatively new additions to the Avianca network. Boston was added as a new destination only in June 2017, with service from Bogota. Chicago O'Hare has been an Avianca destination for years, having been served by Costa Rica's LACSA which became part of the Avianca group after the Avianca-TACA merger in 2010.

Avianca launched flights between Bogota and Chicago O'Hare from November 2018, Cirium schedules data show. Flights from San Salvador to Boston began in August 2018 and Guatemala City to Chicago O'Hare launched in October 2018.

The carrier has in recent months been focusing on a transformation plan to improve profitability instead of expanding. As a result, it has cancelled and deferred aircraft deliveries, divested non-core units and made several network changes including exiting the domestic market in Honduras and slashing its Peruvian domestic network to a single route between Lima and Cusco.

While it is suspending 11 routes in the latest network cut, the airline says it will add capacity to several routes operating mostly within Latin America. These include service from San Salvador to Mexico City, Miami, San Pedro Sula, Houston, Tegucigalpa and Panama City, as well as routes from Managua to San Salvador and Miami, and from Guatemala City to San Salvador and Miami.

Other airlines offer service on some of the routes that Avianca is cancelling. American Airlines will offer seasonal service between Guatemala City and Chicago O'Hare from June, Cirium schedules data show.

Viva Air Colombia operates between Cartagena and Pereira, and JetBlue Airways flies nonstop between Cartagena and New York JFK. Spirit Airlines operates between Guatemala City and Orlando.

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