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Mar 30, 2023
Colombian President Offers Rides on His Plane to Stranded Flyers
(Bloomberg) -- Colombian President Gustavo Petro offered up the presidential plane and the air force fleet to transport thousands of stranded passengers after two local airlines stopped operations.
Low-cost Ultra Air said it would cancel all future flights on Wednesday, citing high fuel costs and currency losses. Viva Air stopped operating in February following a failed attempt to integrate with Avianca Holdings SA, the country’s largest airline. Petro tweeted that he will suspend all of his trips while the government finds options for passengers who had purchased tickets.
(Tweet translation: Faced with the emergency caused by the halt of operations of Viva Air and Ultra airlines, I have ordered that all FAC planes, including the presidential plane, be ready for the transport of affected users from now on.)
Petro’s announcement comes days ahead of Holy Week, a commonly busy travel period for Colombians.
Companies including Avianca SA, Latam Airlines, and Copa Airlines have all offered travelers available seats at cheaper rates to complete their trips. The Transportation Ministry said it opened an investigation into Viva in March for continuing to sell tickets after it ceased operations and has ordered both carriers to refund travelers’ costs.
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