Airline Startup Of The Week: Colombia’s Ultra Air

This week, the Colombian carrier Ultra Air received authorization from local authorities to start its certification process and become the latest South American startup to launch operations. Additionally, we now know which routes Ultra Air aims to operate with an Airbus A320 fleet. Let’s investigate further.

Colombia will have a new airline, called Ultra Air. Photo: Getty Images.

Step by step, here comes Ultra Air

Ultra Air is one of two Colombian startups that are planning to launch operations. The other one is called Starblue Airlines. The concept of this new carrier was born during the pandemic, recently said Ultra’s founder, William Shaw.

He saw that Colombia could use a new low-cost carrier; since October last year, Shaw has worked towards getting the necessary requirements.

The Colombian Civil Aviation authorities (Aeronáutica Civil) authorized the start of the certification process of Ultra Air on June 25. If Ultra Air receives the green light, Colombia would have seven commercial airlines. Avianca, LATAM, Viva, Wingo, EasyFly, and SATENA are the others.

Angela María Orozco, Transport Minister in Colombia, said in a statement,

“Once the company finishes its certification process and obtains its Air Operator Certificate, it will be able to offer a new possibility of choices to the users of the air transport system. They will find  more alternatives, from more operators, in domestic and international markets.”

What routes would Ultra Air offer?

Ultra Air plans to operate from four cities, Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, and Cali. This decision would directly impact both Avianca and Viva, the leading airlines in the first two hubs.

From Bogota, Ultra intends to fly to 13 domestic cities and eight international destinations. Meanwhile, from Medellin, it would cover ten domestic routes and seven international.

Both Cartagena and Cali would be smaller hubs for Ultra Air, with only two and three domestic destinations from each city, respectively.

These are the international routes Aeronáutica Civil approved:

Bogota: Mexico City, Cancun, Miami, Santo Domingo, Quito, Lima, Curazao, and Guayaquil
Medellin: Miami, Cancun, Mexico City, Guayaquil, New York, Aruba, and Punta Cana.

These are the domestic routes Aeronáutica Civil recently approved:

Bogota: Medellin, Cali, Cartagena, Santa Marta, San Andres, Pereira, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cucuta, Riohacha, Pasto, Leticia, and Monteria
Medellin: Cartagena, Santa Marta, Cali, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cucuta, Riohacha, Pasto, Leticia, and Monteria
Cartagena: Pereira and Cali
Cali: Santa Marta, San Andres, and Barranquilla.

This is how Ultra Air’s international route map would look like. Photo: GCMap.

The fleet plans

In the last eight months, Ultra Air has been able to access USD$10 million in investment, the airline said in a statement. The carrier is working to have its orange-painted aircraft soon enough in the skies.

Currently, Ultra Air plans on launching operations with an Airbus A320ceo fleet. William Shaw is familiar with the aircraft type; he had an A320 fleet when he was CEO of the Mexican carrier Interjet. Moreover, he tried to get rid of the Sukhoi SSJ100 planes and get Interjet under a single OEM, unsuccessfully.

Within the first five years of operations, Ultra Air aims to have a fleet of up to 40 planes. Moreover, the company believes domestic airfares in Colombia would drop up to 20% when it starts to fly.

Would you like to fly with Ultra Air? Let us know in the comments. 

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