To date, there are more than 450,000 users of Viva Air and Ultra Air affected by the bankruptcy of these airlines, they sold thousands of tickets and from one day to the next, they stopped operations. William Shaw, the name of a man who unites the history of these companies, also in Peru, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
William Shaw, the name that has begun to gain relevance in Colombia after the stoppage of operations of Ultra Air, the airline he created, after having created Viva Air, another company that also went bankrupt, he has come out to say that they asked the government for help , “and they did not give it to us.”
For many, what has happened this year has been a scam, deception and even a possible “pyramid” that has affected thousands of people.
Being able to buy cheap flights tickets even from 50,000 to go from one city to another by plane, it is an option that attracts thousands.
To the Mexican businessman, the case of Interjet haunts him (at the end you will find details*).
Until now, neither for the case of Viva, nor for Ultra, nor for the problems with Avianca have there been formal judicial accusations against any CEO, manager or staff.
William Shaw: A low-cost CEO
Shaw has at least 20 years in Colombian and Latin American aviation.
He was a check-in agent. She has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business with Certificates in Public Management and Global Management, and a BA from CESA Colombia.
He is Mexican but settled in the coffee country, when he arrived in 1998 as a sales manager for British Airways.
In 2009 he created Viva Air, thus venturing into low cost flights in Colombia, by 2016 there was already a crisis and his three partners left the business, he stayed but later sold his part.
In February 2023, said airline, which became Viva Colombia, stopped operations because it went bankrupt.
Now, after the stoppage of Ultra Air, the other company that he also created as low cost and with capital of 23 billion dollars, he spoke with Forbes magazine and explained that “the government did not help”, although they made the requests.
- Increase in the cost of fuel, the devaluation of the Colombian peso, inflation and the increase in VAT on air tickets from January 1, 2023, four of the factors for the crisis.
An ignored alert?
If the government did not respond to the calls for help, if the merger with another airline fell through and there were few options, many wonder why they continued to sell tickets? March.
As reported in Congress, Ultra Air sold more than 300,000 tickets for the remainder of 2023 and until early 2024.
Last week there were abrupt flight changes, many users complained.
However, Aerocivil itself reported that the company continued to fly “with a partial reduction in capacity for technical reasons.” Nothing else was ever reported.
Ultra Air had denied in early March that it would stop operations. However, he had asked the government for help to continue.
This is how he responded on March 14: “It is an airline with Colombian capital, it is backed by solid investors who believe in our project and we are committed to the Colombians.”
They weren’t good…
According to William Shaw’s response to Forbes, this was answered because “we were advancing on several fronts to finance the company with both new national and international investors.”
According to what he said, there were even talks with “financial entities and even with the National Government, to achieve the substantial capitalization that we needed for the long term.”
EXCLUSIVE: William Shaw, founder and CEO of Ultra Air, discusses the airline’s suspension of operations.
He claims that a binding agreement with which they believed they were capitalized fell through. https://t.co/hViJIbpCJf
– José Caparroso (@JoseCaparroso) March 30, 2023
Cheap flights, crisis
Low cost flights in Colombia do not take off. The attempts have ended in paralysis of operations with thousands of travelers affected.
Neither the Ministry of Transport nor Civil Aeronautics have managed to get Viva Air to respond, now Ultra Air is joining the crisis.
For the same Avianca that tried to have them, it was not possible to maintain that economic line either and today, there are very few “cheap flights” that it has in its offer.
This situation has generated mistrust and could affect the air travel market in the country.
Interjet in Mexico…
Interjet was founded in 2005 as a low-cost airline in that country, but its last flight was in 2020.
The airline would supposedly fly again in 2022, but as of this 2023, it has not yet resumed operations.
Although in 2019 when William Shaw was appointed CEO of that airline and managed to improve operating results, only a year later, they stopped operations.
Meanwhile, Colombia is going through a severe air travel crisis and connection to the country, due to the crisis of two airlines in which it has also been.
The national government announces measures due to the air crisis in Colombia due to the cancellation of Viva and Ultra Air flights that have users in check prior to the start of Easter. See details. https://t.co/Z6ntLhQvbF
– Week Magazine (@SemanaRevista) March 31, 2023