Panama City, Aug 11 (EFE).- Colombian low-cost airline Wingo is set to gradually expand flights between Colombia and Venezuela “as the countries continue to discuss what is being referred to as a roadmap,” Wingo CEO Eduardo Lombana said in an interview with Agencia EFE.
“We just started our route between Bogotá and Caracas on July 25 with three weekly frequencies, and we hope to soon expand to several cities in Venezuela with new destinations from Colombia,” Lombana said.
Last month, Wingo re-established flights between Bogotá and Caracas more than three years after they were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This made it the second company in the Andean country to resume operations to Venezuela following the global emergency and after the two nations restored relations.
“We knew of the enormous capacity and need to serve both markets. It is very important to restore this service. That’s why we did it; this year, in particular, it’s a priority,” the executive said.
Since Venezuela and Colombia restored relations, which were severed in February 2019, flights between Bogotá and Caracas have been resumed by Colombian airline Satena, by Wingo recently, and by Venezuelan airlines Turpial and Laser. However, the service still doesn’t cover all seven days of the week.
Both South American countries began overtures a year ago, working since then towards the normalization of ties traditionally marked by heavy trade but, in this new stage, Colombia seeks to include other aspects such as integration, investment, and cross-border development.
WINGO’S BET ON THE PANAMANIAN MARKET
As part of the announcement of the creation of Wingo Panama on Wednesday, Lombana told EFE that the new airline, with an operating certificate in the Central American country, would begin operations on Friday with two weekly flights between Panama City and the western Panamanian city of David, located near the border of Costa Rica.
“We know this is a very important market for Panama, and we want to offer a low-cost product to David. In the case of Wingo, it is of fundamental importance to finalize the network of routes we offer,” Lombana said.
He pointed out that David “will surely be one of the first destinations to start with the Panama operating certificate” and told EFE that they are “looking at” new “international destinations originating in Panama.”
Wingo, with a Colombian certificate, has been operating in Panama since 2016 to seven international destinations: Barranquilla, Cartagena, Bogota, Medellin, and Cali in Colombia, as well as Havana, Cuba, and San Jose, Costa Rica.
Additionally, Lombana explained that in the last two years, the low-cost airline has increased “200% in seat capacity” and added “13 new routes that now total 36 new destinations,” growth that the CEO attributes to the fact that “Wingo’s great differentiator is that everything is done with a good vibe.”
By 2024, the company plans to consolidate existing routes, because thanks to the “accelerated pace of the last two years” it can ensure that destinations within Colombia and Panama, along with international ones, will continue “growing and strengthening.”
“We are now focused on ensuring that our bases in Bogota, Medellin, and Panama grow solidly and that (customers) have a reliable product,” he added.
The Wingo brand is part of Copa Holdings, which includes Copa Airlines of Panama and Copa Airlines Colombia. EFE