Avianca Taca in Talks on 100-Plane Order With Airbus, Boeing

Avianca Taca Holding SA, owner of Colombia’s biggest airline by sales, is in talks on ordering between 50 and 100 single-aisle planes as South America’s economic growth spurs travel.

The carrier is considering Airbus SAS’s A320neo, as well as Boeing Co. and Bombardier Inc. planes, German Efromovich, whose company took over Avianca in 2004, said in an interview yesterday in Singapore. It plans to make a decision by year-end, he said.

Avianca, which raised $260 million in an initial share sale last month, has been adding new Airbus planes at a rate of more than one a month under an existing order that runs through 2014. International air travel in Latin America rose 17.5 percent in the first four months of the year, the fastest growth rate worldwide, according to the International Air Transport Association.

The carrier is interested to see whether Boeing will offer an all-new single-aisle plane to compete with the A320neo, a revamped version of Airbus’s existing offering that features new engines.

“From Boeing we want to see a more efficient, more modern aircraft,” Efromovich said. “If that takes new engines, or composites, or whatever, we don’t care -- whatever they’re going to offer we’ll compare it with the neos.”

The airline is also talking to Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. about regional planes that could replace older Fokker planes, Efromovich said.

Avianca Taca is part of a venture formed last year by Aerovias del Continente Americano SA, Colombia’s biggest airline, and San Salvador-based Taca Airlines. The two carriers together serve more than 100 destinations and hold about 50 percent of air routes in Latin America.

Avianca and Taca’s combined fleet as of January included 54 A320-series planes, two Boeing 767 widebodies, five Airbus A330 widebody planes, two McDonnell Douglas 83, 15 Fokker 100s, 10 Fokker 50s and eight Embraer SA planes. The airline also has Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s on order.

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