Colombia’s largest airline, Avianca, plans to replace Fokker jets with new airplanes of 100 seats or less, Chief Executive Fabio Villegas said.
Avianca is looking to replace 15 Fokker-100 and 10 Fokker-50 jets it currently operates for commercial flights shorter than one-and-a-half hours, Villegas told Dow Jones Newswires in an email.
The airline won’t buy the same exact number of jets, as it will depend on specific needs, he added. He declined to give a time frame and said the company is evaluating offers from all the makers of commercial jets with 100 seats or less.
In 2007, Avianca undertook a broad renovation of its fleet. The company announced in 2008 it would buy or lease up to 90 jets by 2012, including medium- and long-haul jets manufactured by Europe’s Airbus and by Boeing Co.
The company wants to replace aging jets by new ones more fuel-efficient and cheaper to operate.
Avianca recently announced it will merge with Salvadoran rival Grupo TACA to create the second-largest airline in Latin America. The controlling shareholder of the merged company, Bolivian-born businessman German Efromovich, said last month it will need many more jets than the ones already being purchased.