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Avianca’s new Medellín flights to boost Puerto Rican economy by $1.4M

Amid a celebratory atmosphere, the first direct flight from Medellín to San Juan by Avianca airline arrived in Puerto Rico, marking a new opportunity to strengthen ties and promote tourism exchange between both destinations, said Carlos Mercado-Santiago, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC).

The direct flight between Medellín and San Juan includes four weekly flights, adding approximately 1,500 new seats and resulting in an estimated economic impact of $1.4 million for the island.

“Gov. Pedro Pierluisi and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company are extremely pleased with the historic growth demonstrated by Avianca on the island,” Mercado-Santiago said. “It is rewarding to see the continuous increase that the Colombian airline has experienced in Puerto Rico, reaching a total of 14 weekly flights during the peak winter season. 

The Puerto Rican official noted that the addition of these four new weekly flights from Medellín and the increased frequency of flights from Bogotá “will have an approximate economic impact of $45 million and will add a total of 97,000 available seats between Colombia and Puerto Rico.” 

Mercado-Santiago added that officials at the government-owned corporation are “delighted with the excellent tourism exchange relationship we have developed because it also means an expansion of cultural and commercial exchange between these sister destinations.”

Colombian rock singer Juanes joined the inauguration of the flight between Medellín and San Juan. The 25-time Latin Grammy winner expressed optimism about the opportunity this new route represents to increase connectivity between both destinations and invited Colombians to visit Puerto Rico.

“I am excited to be part of this inaugural flight between Medellín and San Juan, two vibrant and culturally rich cities, always very close but now even more so,” Juanes said. “I am always grateful to Puerto Rico for all the support [I have received] from the beginning, for the friends and the great music I have discovered there. I invite all my fellow countryfolk to explore the wonders of Puerto Rico, just as I hope we welcome our dear Puerto Rican friends with open arms here in Medellín and the rest of Colombia.”

Aristides Luna, Avianca’s sales manager for North America, said: “At Avianca, we are proud to continue adding new destinations to our route network for the benefit of our customers. In this case, with the launch of our direct flight between San Juan and Medellín, we aim to further enhance Puerto Rico’s international connectivity and offer passengers a direct and convenient option to reach one of Colombia’s most attractive destinations.”

Similarly, Edward Zayas, chief strategy officer at the island’s destination marketing organization, Discover Puerto Rico, noted: “Avianca’s new flight from Medellín confirms what we have always established… Puerto Rico is the ideal destination, not only for visitors from other states but also for international visitors, including major Latin American countries, Europe and Canada, for example. 

The new route, Zayas said, “also complements the existing flights from Bogotá, which have been successful for both countries so far. Without a doubt, these and other recently announced routes are contributing to record-breaking month-to-month and year-to-year figures in all economic indicators related to the visitor economy. We thank Avianca for trusting Puerto Rico and the Tourism Company for its efforts to bring greater and new routes that benefit the island’s economic development.”

Meanwhile, Jorge Hernández, president of Aerostar, welcomed the new direct route between San Juan and Medellín, which Avianca will operate with four weekly frequencies starting on Saturday through Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.

“Our facilities are ready, and our staff is eager to serve passengers who will benefit from this expansion of flight offerings between Puerto Rico and Colombia,” Hernández said. “Avianca is an important business partner that has strengthened its presence on the island in recent years. The connection between Puerto Rico’s main airport and one of the busiest airports in South America facilitates cultural, tourist and economic exchange between both countries.”

It should be noted that Puerto Rico was recently designated as the Guest of Honor at the 2024 ANATO (Colombian Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies) Tourist Showcase. This recognition at an important event for the tourism industry in Colombia and globally will provide Puerto Rico with exposure as a tourist destination to showcase “its best attractions, including its natural beauty, gastronomy, warm people, music, history and culture,” distinguishing the island as an ideal Caribbean destination.

Puerto Rico’s consecutive participation in this tourism showcase provides an opportunity to expand its relationships and increase its visibility and presence as a tourist destination globally. 

In addition, it has facilitated the strengthening of tourism exchange relations between Colombia and Puerto Rico, “which is also a valuable element for boosting the island’s economy.”

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