Starting June 2, Avianca will resume its operations between the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), and the city of Bogotá, Colombia (BOG), with direct flights that are expected to generate an economic impact of $1.5 million, informed the executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC), Carlos Mercado.
Initially, the route will have two weekly flights, an amount that is projected to increase during the summer and autumn months until reaching a frequency of one daily flight for the month of December this year.
“One of the priorities of this administration is to promote the development of Puerto Rico's economy through the tourism industry and, in accordance with this goal, the PRTC continues working to strengthen air access to the Island by promoting the restart of domestic flights and international routes, the creation of new routes and the strengthening of collaborative ties to promote our destination globally," Mercado said. "Avianca is an important partner in our efforts to carry the message that we are ready to safely welcome our visitors and to keep the Island on the minds of thousands of potential travelers in Central and South America."
Avianca, the second largest line in Latin America, will use Airbus A319 and A320 model aircraft with capacity for 120 and 150 passengers respectively, which will result in an estimated minimum of 7,440 visitors traveling between BOG and SJU from June to December.
In addition to the $1.5 million impact on the treasury during its first seven months of operation, the arrival of these travelers will generate economic activity for both hotels/inns and tour operators as well as for other businesses that directly and indirectly provide services to the industry.
“The resumption of direct Avianca flights between San Juan and the city of Bogotá is undoubtedly a great step by once again offering Puerto Ricans an important connection door, not only with the sister country of Colombia, but also with the entire Center and South America. At the same time, it represents an excellent opportunity to promote Puerto Rico and attract more tourists and businesses to the island, which will certainly further boost the visitor's economy and the economic development of Puerto Rico," said Joel A. Pizá Batiz, executive director of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority.
Moreover, the CEO of Aerostar Puerto Rico -which manages the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport-, Jorge Hernández, said that Colombia is Puerto Rico's "window" to South America.
"As it is an attractive destination for both the leisure and business traveler, this is an important market for us. With the resumption of flights by Avianca, the direct connection to this sister country is reestablished, given the challenges posed by the pandemic," Hernández added.
According to the PRTC, the new cooperative agreement between the government of Puerto Rico and Avianca offers "excellent opportunities to promote Puerto Rico as a world-class destination," given that the airline offers extensive connectivity from its base at El Dorado International Airport, one of the largest hubs of cargo and passenger traffic in Latin America.
Its network of routes includes important destinations throughout the hemisphere, and will allow to show potential visitors the advantages that Puerto Rico offers as a Caribbean destination that combines a diverse offer of culture, beach, shopping and attractions for all types of audiences with the advantages of speaking the same language, as well as renowned Puerto Rican hospitality, the PRTC explained.
"It is gratifying to see that our strategies to position the island as an attractive destination are being effective and we are sure that our collaborative vision will be successful and beneficial for all. We thank Avianca for reaffirming its commitment to Puerto Rico as a destination of excellence in the Caribbean and we are ready to welcome our guests and Latin American brothers," Mercado asserted.