First Viva Colombia flight lands in Panama

The low-cost airline Viva Colombia launched their inaugural flight today from Bogotá to the international airport Panamá Pacífico in Panama City. 

Juan Emilio Posada, the company president, noted that ever since the airline initiated sales of its first international route, at a fare of U.S. $198 round-trip, it has placed significant pressure to lower other ticket prices. Posada added that VivaColombia expects approximately 14,000 passengers to fly to Panama monthly.

The airline, which is backed by Irish and Mexican investors, plans to expand its international operations by also inaugurating its first flight to Quito in October and to Lima by the year's end. In order to select which international routes to fly, Posada explained that they conduct a market study, with a list of priorities, even analyzing buses that travel to the same destination. "We have analyzed how profitable the market is with our rate, and we realized that Panama was the biggest [market], followed by Quito and Lima, and shortly we'll be looking at Venezuela," Posada indicated.

According to the company's president, low-cost airlines around the world are tapping into 35 to 40% of the market, which has led other airlines to lower their fares and be sensitive to the needs of travelers. Posada also noted that VivaColombia's marketing strategy has focused attention on the social networks. "We are trying to communicate the message that we are democratizing aviation, and that's a good thing," he said.

With respect to the balance of the company in its two years of operation, Posada said that they have flown a total of 3.5 million passengers and its market share has grown by 55%.