Avianca, an airline that has been the flag carrier of Colombia since 1919, is slowly expanding its network, and at least regaining some of its old routes that were lost since the beginning of the pandemic and through some Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. Historically, Bogota was the primary entry point into Colombia, but passengers will now have more options to fly direct from North America to the historic city of Cartagena or the lush city of Medellin.
More options to the U.S. East Coast
While entry requirements have been constantly changing throughout the world, Colombia has been fairly consistent in its rules for the past year. Currently, travelers are allowed to enter the country quarantine-free with proof of vaccination (only required for 18 years of age and up).
Starting March 27, Avianca will reconnect the Caribbean port city of Cartagena to both New York’s JFK airport and Miami International. Two days later, on March 29, Avianca will link Medellin to Orlando, Florida. While other airlines including JetBlue and Spirit already offer service between the United States and Colombia, Avianca will now provide customers more options and the chance for loyal Star Alliance members to earn or redeem miles.
Avianca’s Sales Director, Ana Maria Copete recently stated, “We continue to provide more and better point-to-point and nonstop connectivity opportunities for our customers to travel to their favorite destinations in the Americas and Europe, at more competitive fares and with a customized product that allows them to personalize their trip.”
While Avianca’s expansion into North America may seem limited for the time being, there are nearly a dozen new routes beginning or resuming in the next couple months — many of them international. The Star Alliance carrier plans to launch flights from Bogota to London Heathrow on March 28, the first time the two cities have been connected since March of 2020.
Taking a Tour of Central America
Those flying throughout Central or South America will also benefit from some new routes. San José, Costa Rica will also be connected to Cartagena beginning March 27, and flights will continue onward from Costa Rica to Quito, Ecuador on March 28. This will mark the first scheduled service between the two countries in nearly a decade. While the situation is always fluid, these countries are currently welcoming visitors, with limited regulations.
Costa Rica is currently allowing vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers to visit the popular sunny destination, as long as they are able to provide proof of insurance to cover potential medical expenses.
On the other hand, Ecuador has slightly more stringent entry requirements. All travelers arriving in Ecuador must provide a negative Covid-19 PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to boarding their flight AND present a valid vaccination card (for passengers 16 years and up).
What’s Next for Avianca?
Back in August of 2021, Avianca vowed to add 50 new nonstop routes to its network over the coming years and with each passing month, it gets a little closer to that goal. By 2023, Avianca aims to be flying up to 200 routes while cutting fares by 30%. While many of these routes are simply resumptions of prior service, it does deliver a bit of optimism at a time when many other airlines are canceling and scaling back service due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com