- Equair has ended operations after nearly two years of service.
- Passengers with affected itineraries can fly on another airline thanks to a non-profit passenger protection agreement.
- The airline joins a list of others in Ecuador that have ceased operations in recent years.
Quito, Ecuador-based Equair ceased operations on Saturday at all five domestic destinations. The move reportedly comes a week after the airline launched a new route and announced that it would begin flights to Loja.
While only being in business for around two years, the airline has carried nearly three-quarters of a million passengers. The carrier said travelers with affected itineraries can fly on LATAM Airlines Ecuador at no additional cost.
“The responsible decision”
Equair confirmed the news in a statement released on Saturday.
“Today we are suspending our flights through the skies of Ecuador. Equair, the national flag carrier, with 100% Ecuadorian investment, today announces to the country the suspension of its operations after two years of service since its arrival at the end of 2021. Since its inception, Equair has maintained various commitments: with safety, sustainability, service, quality and, of course, with the search for profitability. As a result of a constant analysis of the market, the responsible decision has been made to suspend its activities, complying with all open processes in the labor, fiscal and operational framework.”
The airline said it has personally communicated with its employees by thanking them and recognizing their contribution over the last two years. Additionally, the carrier plans to support employees and provide advice as they become unemployed.
Accommodating affected passengers
Equair has already implemented a process to provide timely solutions to passengers who have already purchased flights in the future. Thanks to a non-profit passenger protection agreement, LATAM Airlines Ecuador will free up available seats on flights to accommodate affected passengers and will fly them to their destinations without having to pay any more than they already paid for their original ticket. Additionally, Equair has set up a hotline that travelers can call if they have any questions or need assistance.
“We want to extend our gratitude to all our allies, human capital, suppliers and all of Ecuador for opening the doors to us and allowing Equair to become a reality,” the carrier explained. “Today we look to the future and focus on the new challenges that today’s world holds, in a dynamic environment that forces us to have an adaptation to change in an agile and strategic way.”
A sad day for aviation in Ecuador
In its 21 months of operations, Equair transported over 700,000 passengers with a fleet of three Boeing 737-700s, according to aviation blogger Nicolás Larenas. The airline was the fourth scheduled domestic airline in Ecuador.
The news of suspending activity is surprising for some, considering the carrier inaugurated a new route from Quito to El Coca on September 25th and, last month, indicated plans to begin flights between Quito, Guayaquil, and Loja.
Larenas said the news marked a sad day for Ecuadorian aviation as Equair now adds to a history of airlines in the country that ceased operations in recent years, such as TAME, the largest airline in Ecuador at one point. The airline ended operations in 2020 during the pandemic after reportedly losing over $400 million in the last five years of operation.
Source: Nicolás Larenas