JetSMART airline no longer interested in buying Ultra Air in Colombia

BOGOTA, March 22 (Reuters)Chilean low-cost carrier JetSMART said on Wednesday it was no longer interested in buying Colombian carrier Ultra Air, but would still seek a license to set up its own national airline based in Colombia.

JetSMART, backed by US investment fund Indigo Partners, previously said it was considering a possible acquisition of Ultra Air, which operates 10 local routes.

In its statement, JetSMART said “various factors” caused it to reconsider the purchase, without providing further explanation.

JetSMART chief executive Estuardo Ortiz said the airline was focused on getting a national license as soon as possible, which he said would allow it to participate in a reassignment of take-off slots and landing at El Dorado airport in Bogota.

JetSMART operates more than 79 routes across South America and is owned by Indigo Partners, which owns a portfolio of airlines including European carrier Wizz Air WIZZ.LFrontier Airlines based in the United States, Volaris in Mexico and Lynx in Canada.

JetSMART’s announcement came hours after Colombia’s civil aviation authority gave conditional merger approval between Avianca AVT_p.CNthe country’s largest airline, and Viva Air.

JetSMART previously had expressed interest by buying Viva.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Jamie Freed)

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