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Instability jeopardizes connectivity in Colombia

The year 2023 has brought about significant challenges and instability in Colombia's aviation sector, posing a threat to the country's connectivity. With the suspension of operations by Ultra Air and Viva Air, the industry has been compelled to bolster its capacity while grappling with a challenging macroeconomic environment that has resulted in increased operational costs.

Ionatan Galeano, CEO of Flapz, highlighted that LATAM has invested approximately $320 million in the country to address the operational void left by the crises of the low-cost airlines, Ultra Air and Viva Air.

Avianca has responded by ramping up flight capacity to accommodate affected passengers, having served 150,000 travelers thus far. However, the absence of these two airlines, which not only increased seat availability but also facilitated more affordable air travel through their low-cost fares, has had a profound impact on Colombia's aviation sector and its tourism industry, despite the efforts of other airlines, as Galeano emphasized.

This situation has underscored an important lesson and presents an opportunity for the private aviation sector to recognize that connectivity depends on the collective strength of the country's aviation ecosystem.

"This is why private operators have a remarkable opportunity to enhance their offerings and introduce this alternative air mobility solution that has, for years, been overshadowed by commercial operations," stated the executive.

Hence, 2023 represents a significant opportunity to attract new clients and establish a precedent for private air operations in Colombia.

Beyond the current circumstances, it is worth noting that the experience and product provided by commercial aviation have experienced a decline, as voiced by passengers themselves.

"The elimination of onboard services, baggage fees, cabin reconfigurations with smaller seats, and adjustments that have phased out Business Class or First Class have generated strong dissatisfaction among certain travelers."

Furthermore, fare pricing, which has increased in recent months due to external macroeconomic factors and the existing tax burden, does not align with the experience offered by commercial flights.

"The private aviation sector, thanks to its operational model, positions itself as the new Business Class of air travel, where onboard service and experience have significantly improved in terms of quality and options," emphasized Galeano.

He added that "greater comfort with wider seats, personalized travel itineraries and aircraft selection, onboard service with various catering options, amenities, passenger capacity, and even pet-friendly travel are some of the distinctive features of private aviation, emphasizing experience as a fundamental value."

Consequently, more and more entrepreneurs and occasional travelers are opting for private flights, as they provide a truly exceptional and memorable experience.

In terms of experience and comfort, private aviation stands out as a benchmark for 2023.

Another notable aspect of private aviation is the accessibility of the service. While charter flights were previously associated with affluent entrepreneurs, artists, and high-income individuals, the segment has evolved to offer more affordable models.

"The most crucial aspect is that private aviation is no longer perceived as a luxury but has transformed into a necessary transportation solution and an efficient alternative for mobility. This transformation is attributable to the distinctive characteristics of the segment and, in the case of Flapz, the digitization and customization of their product."

The CEO of Flapz emphasized the importance of the private segment recognizing its value and operating in alignment with it. "At Flapz, with our aim to become an influential leader representing private aviation, we have positioned our services as a mobility solution that is ready to meet all the needs of travelers."

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