Colombian airline acquires controlling stake in Chilean carrier

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Sky Airline (Chile) and AviancaTaca Holdings have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the Colombian group will acquire a controlling 59% stake in the Chilean carrier.

Following 15 months of intense negotiations, the agreement was signed last month by the CEO of Sky Airline, Holger Paulmann, and AviancaTaca Holding majority owner, Germán Efromovich.

“For Avianca and its ambition of being the most prominent airline holding group in Latin America, the Chilean market, despite being small, is extremely important from a strategic point of view and Sky Airline, which has been our business partner in recent years, is ideal for progress in consolidating and advancing our plans to become the leading Latin American airline,” Avianca CEO Fabio Villegas told the Modo Charlie news site.

According to sources who spoke to the site, Sky’s operations will continue to focus on domestic Chilean and regional South American flights using a fleet of A319-100s and A320s. It will however, begin to add more feeder traffic to Avianca’s Bogotá primary hub.

Until such time that a due diligence has been carried out and the deal is finalized, Sky Airline will continue to operate as an independent carrier.

The tie-up is expected to encounter resistance from Chile’s competition watchdog (Corporación Nacional de Consumidores y Usuarios – CONADECUS) over concerns it could damage competition in the country’s local aviation market.

AviancaTaca Holdings currently oversees Ecuador’s AeroGal, TAMPA Cargo, Aviateca Guatemala, Honduras’s Isleña Airlines, Nicaragua’s La Costeña, LACSA Costa Rica, Peru’s Trans American Airlines, and a stake in Mexico’s Volaris.