Hundreds of travelers were stranded at airports in Colombia and Peru today after flights were canceled by low-cost Colombian airline Viva Air, which is beset by serious financial problems.

In Bogotá, as well as in Lima or Cusco, Peru, hundreds of travelers were forced to spend the night on the floor of an airport lounge after Viva Air announced it was suspending operations.

“Unfortunately, Viva is forced to announce the suspension of its operation, with immediate effect,” the airline, whose share in the Colombian market is estimated at 15% and has a subsidiary in Peru, announced yesterday Monday.

In these two countries, the authorities assured that two other companies (Latam and Sky Airlines) offered to cover the gaps created to serve the passengers who missed their flights.

A member of the Irelandia Aviation group, which also owns Ryanair, Viva Air is awaiting the green light from the Colombian government to merge with Avianca (with a Colombian market share of around 32%) as part of its bid to resolve major financial problems plaguing her from the Covid-19 pandemic.

About 100 employees of Viva Air (headquartered in Rio Negro, northwestern Colombia) demonstrated today at Bogota’s airport demanding an immediate merger of the two companies while safeguarding their jobs, reports the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

With a fleet of 20 aircraft, low-cost carrier Viva Air operated flights between 35 cities in Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Argentina.