Avianca Holdings co-founder Germán Efromovich, says 2018 will be the year of consolidation, especially in Brazil and Mexico, as the company plans to ramp up operations in both countries.
Subsidiary, Avianca Brasil, which holds a 14% market share in Brazil, aims to improve its positioning in the niche market, as new aircraft enter its fleet.
The Group's presence in Mexico will expand with an interline and codeshare deal with Aeromar, which is currently being negotiated.
Additionally, the Group expects to start flying jet aircraft in Argentina later this year, as its new subsidiary, Avianca Argentina, suffered a year and half delay due to politics.
As for Avianca's planned commercial joint venture with United Airlines, it is expected to conclude in 2018 or possible even the 1H of 2019, says Efromovich. Avianca is also reportedly proposing to negotiate a similar joint business venture with Lufthansa.
Despite the agreements and consolidation, Efromovich reiterated that Avianca is not for sale. The Group had received offers in late 2016 from Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Copa Airlines, but ultimately decided against a sale.
Efromovich also brushed off low-cost carrier competition, as he believes the low-cost market will be able to co-exist with legacy carriers due to there being customers for both. However, he has doubts in certain markets, especially Mexico and Chile, due to a mix between demand, airport costs, and flight distances.