In total, over 128,000 passengers had been relocated and helped by Colombian authorities and carriers.

Avianca Airbus A320neo
Photo: Markus Mainka/Shutterstock

Avianca has helped relocate over 100,000 passengers that had tickets with Viva Air and Ultra Air, the two Colombian carriers that ceased operations in February and March. In a statement, Avianca updated on its rescue scheme, which has been going on for over a month.

Helping stranded passengers

The cease of operations of Viva Air and Ultra Air left thousands of passengers stranded across Colombia. This crisis got out of hand, and even the Colombian air forces had to pitch in. Last week, the country’s president put the entire fleet of the air force at disposition to help travelers return home.

Avianca set a passenger rescue plan since the end of February after Viva Air announced its temporary cease of operations. The airline began helping passengers with a valid flying ticket with Viva Air so they could get to their final destination.

An Avianca aircraft.

Photo: Peter Gudella/Shutterstock.

Nonetheless, after Ultra Air also announced its bankruptcy in late March, Avianca extended and expanded its rescue plan to accommodate Ultra Air’s stranded travelers.

On Tuesday, Avianca said that it had relocated over 101,600 passengers and operated 64 additional flights since February 28. It had given priority to the regional connectivity across Colombia. Of the 101,600 relocated passengers, over 91,000 have been on domestic routes and 10,600 on international routes. About 92,900 of the passengers had tickets with Viva Air, and 8,700 with Ultra.

Avianca is offering two options for people with a valid ticket with Viva Air and Ultra Air. One includes a free relocation but flying on standby and on a first-come, first served basis. The other option includes buying a new ticket with Avianca with a special discount. On both options, passengers had to bring their tickets with Viva and Ultra for validation before they can access any flight.

Other airlines

Besides Avianca, LATAM Colombia and Wingo have also launched rescue schemes for Viva Air and Ultra Air’s passengers.

Wingo offered a protection code for passengers impacted by Ultra Air’s collapses. This code can be redeemed on flights from Bogota to Medellín, Cali, Santa Marta, and Cartagena.

Several Viva aircraft

Photo: Markus Mainka/Shutterstock.

LATAM Colombia launched special fares for Ultra’s stranded passengers with a valid ticket until April 15. The fares range from 136,010 Colombian pesos (about $29.59) to 178,710 Colombian pesos (about $39).

In total about 128,000 stranded passengers have been helped by Colombian authorities and airlines.

Medellín, the impacted hub

The cease of operations of Viva Air and Ultra Air has particularly impacted one airport, Medellín International Airport (MDE). This hub is the second-largest in Colombia behind Bogota El Dorado (BOG), and served as a base for both airlines.

Compared to December 2022, Medellín International has lost 32.9% of its weekly operations, and 33.1% of the seats available. Viva Air, which was the largest airline in Medellín, operated nearly 300 weekly flights from this airport in December (28% of the total). Ultra Air operated 127 weekly flights in December (12%).

Medellín International lost direct connectivity to five cities after the collapse of these two airlines, including two internationals served by Viva (Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo). Additionally, Medellín had a decrease in the number of weekly operations ranging from -14.3% to -80.4% on 19 routes. For example, the route Medellin-Bogota lost 14.8% of its weekly flights and 14.0% of its weekly seats.

What do you think about Avianca’s passenger relocation scheme? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Avianca Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner N792AV (2)
    Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    El Dorado International Airport, El Salvador International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Airline Group:
    Avianca Group

    Adrian Neuhauser



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