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Avianca Defends Viva Air South American Deal

 |  February 22, 2023

Latam Airlines has expressed interest in acquiring the carrier, joining Chile’s JetSmart, and putting Avianca in defense mode over its proposed merger with Viva.

“The ‘proposals’ of the competitors that have expressed their alleged interest in Viva are, by all accounts, unfeasible, late and seem more of a distraction in the face of the request for integration of Avianca and Viva,” Bogotá-based Avianca said Wednesday. The airline acquired a controlling stake in Viva earlier this year but, as yet, its proposed merger with the discounter has been blocked by Colombian regulator, Aerocivil.

Read more: Avianca, Viva Appeal Colombian Watchdog Merger Denial

Aerocivil took a second look at the Avianca-Viva deal in January after the airlines offered to divest slots in Bogotá, among other conditions, in order to preserve competition. The regulator tweeted on February 10 that it anticipated a “prompt” decision on the proposed merger following Viva’s filing for the Colombian equivalent of bankruptcy.

Avianca’s comments Wednesday came after Latam said the day before that it had sent an expression of interest to acquire Viva to the airline’s management and shareholder Castlesouth Limited.

“We consider that this potential acquisition would be the best option to strengthen the conditions of the free market, as well as offer the necessary support to respond to the financial situation of Viva Air Colombia and its creditors, ultimately resulting in the strengthening of the Colombian airline industry,” Latam said.