Avianca Airline, which is seeking to end the restructuring under Chapter 11 of the United States’ bankruptcy code, has the potential to reinstate about 100 pilots who left the airline after a 2017 strike, the company said Thursday.
At the beginning of November, a US court confirmed the reorganization plan that the airline had accepted in May 2020.
“Without a doubt, we have achieved a milestone in our history and this opportunity is a golden opportunity to start from scratch, to advance the teamwork and build the Avianca we all need,” Avianca President and CEO Adrian Neuhauser said in a statement.
The airline faced a 51-day strike by its pilots between September and November 2017, cutting its operations in half at the most critical time.
The suspension of activities, which a Supreme Court declared illegal, has forced the airline to ground many of its planes, affecting thousands of passengers.
After the strike ended, dozens of pilots were dismissed on the grounds of illegality, while others resigned or retired.
Avianca Holdings will change its headquarters to the United Kingdom and no longer trade on the Columbia Stock Exchange, after a US court confirmed the reorganization plan in early November.
Avianca’s approved business plan covers all aspects of its business, including the destinations it will serve, the aircraft it will operate with, and the way the airline will serve its customers.
The plan would allow the airline that was a pioneer in Colombia to have a route network with a fleet of more than 130 aircraft to serve more than 200 point-to-point routes in Latin America by 2025, as travel demand recovers.
The pilots who decided to reintegrate would do so on the same terms that were agreed in 2020 for the rest of the pilots.
The company, which has about 14,000 employees, including about 1,000 pilots, will start a training program that goes beyond the requirements of aviation regulations.
“Pilots and Avianca management, divided over past conditions, are meeting once again to maintain Columbia’s connection and supply, while seeking to assist all of the company’s workers,” said Jaime Hernandez, president of the Colombian Civilian Pilots Association. .
Avianca and LATAM Airlines underwent a Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring when the coronavirus pandemic hit the airline sector due to travel restrictions, which have been particularly severe in Latin America.
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