Latin America’s second largest airline consortium, Avianca Holdings, has reportedly laid off thousands of employees as it struggles to hold on to its share of an increasingly competitive market.
According to Latin American Airline News, the airline is laying off 1,800 employees and has been unable to recover US$200 million from its operations in Venezuela.
The world’s second oldest airliner, Avianca is the owner of TACA, LACSA, TACAPeru, Aerolineas Galapagos and TAMPA Cargo.
Together with its subsidiaries, Avianca has the most extensive network of destinations in Latin America and one of the largest and most modern aircraft fleets on the continent. But today its dominance is under threat as U.S. carriers increase their operations in the region.
The increased competition is putting pressure on the carrier to lower ticket prices and Colombian newspapers speculate that the carrier may lay off more employees next year.
In May last year, Avianca cancelled five flights to Costa Rica and dismissed 261 employees in the Central American country.
In a recent announcement, the Bogota, Colombia-based airliner stated that its passenger traffic had increased by more than 15%, although analysts say this increase was largely due to the World Cup in Brazil.
Avianca is the second largest airline holding company in Latin America by revenue, after the Brazilian-Chilean LATAM Airlines Group, and the second largest by fleet size.