Low-cost carrier JetSMART is fast-tracking its expansion plans to Peru and potentially Colombia and Brazil, its chief executive told Reuters, even as airlines, in Latin American in particular, are scaling down their fleets and ambitions.
Chile-based JetSMART is in the enviable position of having well-funded private equity backers such as Indigo Partners, which also owns stakes in Denver-based Frontier Airlines and Hungarian carrier Wizz Air (WIZZ.L), during the pandemic.
In expanding to other South American domestic markets, JetSMART will directly challenge the region’s leaders, LATAM Airlines Group (LTM.SN) and Avianca Holdings (AVT_p.CN), both of which filed for bankruptcy restructuring in May due to the crisis.
JetSMART CEO Estuardo Ortiz said the pandemic has given the upstart airline an incentive to accelerate aspects of its expansion to deploy its narrowbody Airbus planes to markets with more demand.
“We had already thought about flying domestically in Peru, originally maybe in 2022, but we brought that plan forward,” Ortiz said…