Revenue at airline Avianca falls 51% through early June on coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows Colombian airline Avianca’s planes parked at El Dorado International Airport amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Bogota, Colombia April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez/File Photo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Passenger revenue at Latin America’s No. 2 airline, Avianca Holdings (AVT_p.CN), has fallen 51% for the year as of early June compared with a year ago, the carrier said, in a look into the dire financial toll that the coronavirus has taken on the company.

Colombia-based Avianca was the first airline in the region to file for bankruptcy protection, after the coronavirus added financial strain to the already weak carrier.

The revenue figure shows just how bad second-quarter results are likely to be for Latin America’s airlines. Results published so far only accounted for about two weeks worth of coronavirus lockdowns in late March. For example, Avianca’s top rival, LATAM Airlines Group (LTM.SN), had a drop in revenue of only 7% during the first three months of the year.

LATAM has also filed for bankruptcy protection

Avianca has not flown any regularly scheduled passenger flights since late March, when its main hubs in Colombia, El Salvador, Ecuador and Peru all shut down at the same time. Those countries remain closed and it is unclear when Avianca will be able to fly again.

Panama’s Copa Holdings (CPA.N) has also not flown any flights since March, when Panama shut down its airspace. Copa’s revenue fell about 12% through March.

Avianca has not yet published its first-quarter results, which the airline said it would release by June 15. The revenue figure was instead disclosed in its annual report filed late last week in the United States with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Avianca did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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