(CMR) A looming bond payment deadline coupled with a severe decline in business due to the coronavirus has forced one of Latin America’s largest airlines, Avianca, to file for bankruptcy protection.
The move to file for bankruptcy protection comes after weeks of lobbying the Colombian government to save the airline reeling from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in a close to 90 percent decline in global air travel.
“Avianca is facing the most challenging crisis in our 100-year history,” Avianca CEO Anko van der Werff said in a press release.
The airline which carries 30 million passengers a year lost most of its business in late March has been unable to pay its 20,000 employees.
Those close to the situation note that the airline had been in trouble prior to the pandemic however the COVID-19 crisis has helped to further and exacerbate the company’s financially unstable position
Failing bankruptcy protection, Avianca would be one of the first major carriers worldwide to go under as a result of COVID-19.