Colombian airports in quagmire after Viva cessation of flights

Air Travel

Uncertainty and indignation reign this Tuesday in the main Colombian airports due to the cancellation of operations of the low-cost airline Viva Air, which grounded thousands of passengers who protest in the air terminals to demand solutions.Hundreds of people sitting on the ground at the El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá and many others lining up in front of the empty Viva counter staged this morning waiting for the company to rule on possible compensatory measures.Viva announced on Monday night the cessation of its operations due to the refusal of the Colombian authorities to authorize its integration with Avianca with which it sought to alleviate the financial crisis it is going through.Samuel Ramos had a flight to Cartagena de Indias with his mother, but he found out about the airline’s decision when he arrived at the airport.”We started calling, but the line has an answering machine where they don’t say anything,” he explained to EFE, adding that the Colombian Civil Aeronautics (Aerocivil) has not given them an answer either.From early on, as a protest, the frustrated closed the international entrance and exit, as well as the national one, but “it didn’t work at all,” he lamented.”We already have a paid hotel and a purchased plan, so I think I’m going to stay here until it’s resolved because I asked for my vacation week so my mom could see the sea,” added Ramos, who bought the flights in December . and they had already been changed twice, according to what he said.UNANSWEREDIn the case of Sandra Prieto, she was accompanying her 14-year-old grandmother who had to board a flight to Argentina to meet her mother and start classes, but they did not get a response from the airline or the aeronautical authorities. Both have slept at the airport, where they arrived on Monday at noon.Those affected assured that the airline Latam opened a space to “provide a solution to some passengers”, but for the moment they will only serve domestic flights.At the José María Córdova Airport in Medellín, passengers affected by the cancellation of Viva Air flights block entry to the international area of ​​​​the facilities, the airport reported through its social networks.”We call for calm and for a concerted solution and not for de facto measures that affect other passengers. We understand how difficult this situation is, but we ask you please not to impede the passage of other passengers,” the airport said.The image is repeated in airports such as Cartagena or Barranquilla, where hundreds of affected people wait in front of the Viva counters for someone to tell them the steps to follow in order to reach their destinations or recover the value of the tickets.Viva Air, which was created in 2009, is headquartered at the José María Córdova international airport in Medellín, and has 35 internal routes and to Argentina, Brazil and Peru, among other countries.According to the company, the delay of the aeronautical authorities in making a decision on the integration with Avianca has led it to present numerous evidences to the Colombian Government to demonstrate that “it is in a critical financial situation” and the only way in which it could continue flying is the integration that demands.After learning the news of the cancellation of operations, Aerocivil issued a statement assuring that it will ensure “especially respect for the rights of affected users.”

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