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    07/10/2009

    Avianca and Grupo TACA to offer a leading network of routes throughout Latin America - October 2009 | Growth

    Synergy Aerospace Corp. (Avianca’s main stakeholder) and Kingsland Holding Limited (TACA’s main stakeholder) announced today they have reached an agreement that will enable to the creation of Latin America’s leading airline group.

    • Becoming the airline group with the most expansive coverage, serving the greatest number of cities in the Americas with over 100 destinations. Seeking to create the most complete network of passenger and cargo services in Latin America developing new markets from their hubs located in Bogotá, San Salvador, San José de Costa Rica, and Lima.
    • The combined strengths of their complementary fleet, aligned service strategies coupled with superior human talent will enable the airline group to build a more competitive and sustainable business model in the long term.
    • Avianca and TACA will keep their respective brands and continue to operate independently under a shared strategic vision

    BOGOTA, Colombia; SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, SAN JOSE, Costa Rica and LIMA, Peru, October 7, 2009.- Synergy Aerospace Corp. (Avianca’s main stakeholder) and Kingsland Holding Limited (TACA’s main stakeholder) announced today they have reached an agreement that will enable to the creation of Latin America’s leading airline group.

    As a result of the agreement, each party will contribute to the newly formed holding company their respective controlling ownership participation in the operations of the airlines: Aerovías del Continente Americano S.A., ("Avianca"), Colombia’s leading airline on the one hand, and Grupo TACA ("TACA"), Central America’s leading carrier, on the other. The agreement will be approved through a process covering several implementation phases meeting the appropriate approvals and antitrust regulation.

    The new group will leverage two of the region’s best-known brands in air travel, two world-class product offerings with important hubs and a complementary network of serviced routes. In addition these are also two very highly motivated teams of professionals operating in a service- oriented culture.

    Capitalizing on the new group’s four different hubs – located in Bogota, Lima, San Salvador, and San Jose, Costa Rica - Avianca and TACA will have the capacity to offer customers better services to more destinations than any other carrier in the region.

    Human talent will also benefit from the new group’s greater geographical diversification as well as from a stronger combined platform for future growth and career development in the face of what is still widely regarded as a challenging economic environment, threatened by volatile fuel prices and intense competition in the industry.

    TACA CEO and Chairman Roberto Kriete, who will now serve as Chairman of the future organization said, “Grupo TACA has long been a leading force for consolidation and rationalization in the Latin American airline industry. This agreement is a significant milestone in our corporate evolution, providing us with the breadth and scale to better compete with any player in our markets while ensuring our long-term success. This announcement is a valuable opportunity for all of our employees and shareholders to become part of one of the leading airline groups in the Americas.”

    Separately, German Efromovich, Chairman of the Synergy Group said, "we are proud of what Avianca has achieved over recent years, not only financially speaking, but also in terms of the strong corporate culture we have developed and the quality of service we are offering. With this partnership we will have the capacity to build even further on that success and provide our passengers access to what is now Latin America’s leading airline network, as well as creating growth and development opportunities for all our employees."

    Fabio Villegas, who will now serve as CEO for the new company declared that, "this is a great day in the history of aviation. We are bringing together two of the world’s oldest airlines; we are aligning two institutions with a unique focus on serving their customers and on the well-being of all their stakeholders - to create an industry leader. I look forward to working with all of our employees so we can jointly build on a vision for the best airlines in the region.”

     

    Leading Customer Service
    With Avianca and TACA’s successful participation in the commercial aviation market, we seek to create an outstanding proposal that will respond to customer’s needs throughout Latin America and the world striving to maintain the high quality standards that have characterized both airlines.
    Clients can expect a variety of options in terms of routes and schedules with leading on time rates and the service characterized by Avianca and TACA.

     

    One Group, Two Airlines
    The business model that has been laid seeks to strengthen airline competitiveness to ensure long term sustainability. This focus is based on improving operations and customer services at both organizations, as well as on creating and solidifying new market opportunities.

    The managerial team serving in the new organization’s top tier will combine leadership from both companies: AVIANCA CEO, Fabio Villegas, will become the new organization’s CEO. TACA’s COO, Estuardo Ortiz will be the new organization’s COO; and AVIANCA’s CFO, Gerardo Grajales, will serve as the CFO. However, current reporting ranks will remain as such to ensure the focus of the business at each of the airline’s and the transitions will take place gradually.

    Both airlines will continue to operate as separate entities, strengthening attributes for their brand’s, hubs, and route networks, while they will coordinate operations to provide clients seamless service by combining their network routes.

    Jointly, Avianca and TACA generate annual revenues of nearly 3 billion dollars. They serve over 100 destinations around the world (including 75 cities in Latin America, a greater amount than any other airline); operating a fleet of 129 aircrafts, employing some 12,000 people, and frequent flyer programs that add up to over 3 million members. Given the significance of each brand in their respective regions, both will remain valid.

     

    Transaction Structure
    The shares of both Avianca and TACA’s controlling entities will be contributed to a new holding company. Each operating company will remain independent while the new executive group will define best business practices across both organizations.

    Advisors
    * The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
    Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Caoba Capital acted as financial advisors to TACA and Greenberg Traurig acted as counsel. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta acted as counsel to AVIANCA.

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