Avianca, the national airline and flag carrier of Colombia headquartered in Bogota with its main hub at the El Dorado International Airport, was founded on December 5, 1919, when it was initially registered under the name SCADTA, Sociedad Colombo-Alemana de Transporte Aereo.
In September 1920, SCADTA made its first flight between Barranquilla and Puerto Berrio.
By the mid-1920s, SCADTA inaugurated its first international routes that initially covered destinations in Venezuela and the United States.
In the second half of the 1930s, the airline acquired 10 Boeing 247 twin-engine aircraft, extending its domestic routes, and its first Douglas DC-3 aircraft.
On June 14, 1940, SCADTA merged with Servicio Aereo Colombiano – SACO, forming Avianca – Aerovias Nacionales de Colombia S.A.
In 1946, using Douglas DC-4 and C-54 Skymaster aircraft, Avianca inaugurated flights to Lima, Quito, Panama City, Miami, New York and finally Europe.
In 1951, Avianca acquired the biggest and fastest aircraft at the time, the Lockheed 749 Constellation and the 1049 Super Constellation.
In 1956, on a flight that took 61 operating hours with the aircraft stopping only to refuel, Avianca transported the Colombian delegation participating in the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.
In 1960, Avianca began operating its first jet, the Boeing 707-120, and, in the next 8 years, it incorporated the Boeing 720B, 727-100, 727-200 and 737-100 aircraft.
From 1976 until 1994, Avianca was the first airline in Latin America to operate the Jumbo 747 aircraft. Boeing 747-100 and 747-200B models were part of Avianca’s fleet.
In 1981, Avianca expanded its passenger ground service potential in Bogota by the construction and commissioning of the modern terminal, Avianca Puente Aereo – Avianca’s Air Bridge, from where the airline initially served routes to New York, Miami, Cali, Medellin, Monteria and Pasto.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Avianca acquired two Boeing 767-200 ER, the world’s most modern aircraft, Fokker 50s and the first McDonnell Douglas MD83.
In 1994, three of the most important companies of the aviation sector of Colombia: Avianca, SAM, a regional carrier, and Helicol, an helicopter operator, formed a strategic alliance which brought Avianca’s new system of operations to life, a system that offered the most modern fleet in Latin America, as well as specialized services in Cargo and postal services.
In May 2002, Avianca and SAM, together with its major rival Aces (Aerolineas Centrales de Colombia) formed the Alianza Summa with the aim to offer a more efficient service, with concerns to quality, quantity, security and competition in a new struggling marketplace.
In November 2003, the shareholders decided to liquidate the Sociedad Alianza Summa and to strengthen the Avianca brand, decisions that resulted in the liquidation of ACES Colombia and the acquisition of SAM Colombia, as a regional carrier under Avianca’s system.
In 2005, in line with its objective of being leaders in the region, the corporate name was changed from Aerovias Nacionales de Colombia S.A. to Aerovias del Continente Americano S.A.
Since 2008, when Avianca received its first Airbus A320, another 54 aircraft from this manufacturer were added to its fleet.
In 2009, Avianca announced the signing of an agreement between shareholders, approving its merger with the Central American carrier, TACA Airlines, and reentered the stock market with an important bond issue.
In February 2010, the majority shareholder of Avianca, Synergy Aerospace Corp., and the owner of Grupo TACA, Kingsland Holding Limited, formalized their business strategic union. Grupo TACA includes TACA International, Lacsa, TACA Peru, Aviateca, Sansa, La Costena and Islena airlines. Avianca includes Avianca, AeroGal and Tampa Cargo. The new company instantly became one of the region’s largest airlines, after Brazil’s TAM and GOL, with flights to more than 100 destinations and 129 aircraft.
Throughout 2011, 12 new routes were opened, and 155 flight frequencies were increased, reaching more than 100 destinations in the Americas and Europe, through more than 4,000 flights per week.
In 2012, Avianca signed with Airbus q purchase order of 51 A320 Neo.
In June 2012, Avianca and TACA Airlines officially joined Star Alliance, the leading global airline network.
On 21 March 2013, the corporate name was changed from AviancaTaca Holdings to Avianca Holdings. Avianca Holdings is the second largest airline holding company in Latin America by revenue, after Brazilian – Chilean LATAM Airlines Group and the second largest by fleet size.
On May 28, 2013, in order to have a single commercial brand in the aviation industry, Avianca Holdings subsidiary airlines (Avianca, TACA, TACA International, TACA Regional, Tampa Cargo and AeroGal) adopted the name Avianca, consolidating all the airlines of the holding as one single service provider.
On July 3, 2014, Avianca began the operation of its new direct non-stop service, Bogota – London – Bogota. With the launch of this route, Avianca takes another step in its consolidation process as the leading airline in the Colombia – Europe market with four weekly flights to London being added to the current offering of 23 Colombia – Spain flights.
In 2014, Avianca continued to advance with its fleet renewal plan. The airline added the first Airbus A321 aircraft with capacity for 194 passengers to its domestic fleet and received the first ATR 72-600 of the 15 aircraft ordered in 2012, which will gradually replace the Fokker 50 and ATR 42 aircraft currently in service in the Colombian and Central American markets.
In January 2015, Avianca launched its first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner service on the Bogotá – New York route.
In 2016, Hernan Rincon became Executive President of Avianca Holdings S.A., and Avianca adopted a new vision for 2020: a world-class airline that connects Latin America with the world and the preferred Latin American airline in the world with the best people and the best technology for an exceptional experience.
At 2017 Skytrax Awards, Avianca received the Best Airline in South America award.
In November 2018, Avianca will launch the Bogota – Munich route. Munich will be Avianca’s fourth destination in Europe, alongside Barcelona, Madrid, and London Heathrow.
Avianca was involved in 17 deadly incidents, the deadliest of which was Avianca Flight 011 that crashed onto a mountain, near Barajas Airport in Madrid, killing 181 of the 192 people on board. In the airline’s history, only one successful bombing has occurred, Avianca Flight 203 in 1989, while most other gang related incidents were related to shootings on board or hijackings. Since the hijack of Flight 9463 April 1999, Avianca was no longer involved in fatal accidents or incidents.