Tuesday 20 February 2018

Declan Ryan takes 25pc in Colombian airline

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Declan Ryan's Irelandia has taken a 25 per cent stake in a new Colombian low-cost airline VivaColombia, as he bids to replicate the extraordinary success of Ryanair in Latin America.

VivaColombia is set to become the Latin American country's first low-cost airline when it launches in the near future. The airline has already signed deals for five Airbus jets and has established a base in Medellin -- formerly the haunt of cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.

Declan Ryan is already a major shareholder in Mexican carrier VivaAerobus along with Mexican transport group IAMSA, which also invested in the Colombian airline.

The carrier is to be branded under the Viva banner. The investors have also teamed up with Sociedades Bolivar, one of Colombia's biggest companies with interests in property, banking and construction.

The owners are thought to be planning to invest €320m in the new operation.

While the airline is initially set to offer domestic flights, it is eyeing up major international expansion to other Latin American countries, the Caribbean and southern states of the US.

Declan Ryan, who helped build up Ryanair with his father Tony, exited the Irish airline to build up a massive fortune in the aviation sector.

His Irelandia Investment group made massive profits when selling out of €800m-valued US airline Allegiant in its IPO in 2007. Ryan made a return of five times his initial investment in just 18 months.

The trick was then repeated in Asia, when Tiger Airways floated last year -- again netting Ryan millions on his initial investment.

Sunday Indo Business

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