Colombia’s Avianca airline files for bankruptcy over pandemic

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Second-largest carrier in Latin America says coronavirus biggest challenge in its 100-year history

Gideon Long in Bogotá

Colombia’s Avianca — the second-largest airline in Latin America — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US on Sunday, saying coronavirus has presented it with the biggest challenge in its century-long history.

In a filing to a bankruptcy court in New York, it said the measure was needed to ensure Avianca can “emerge as a better, more efficient airline that operates for many more years".

“Avianca is facing the most challenging crisis in our 100-year history as we navigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Anko van der Werff, the chief executive. “Entering into this process is a necessary step to address our financial challenges.”