Bankrupt Airline Avianca Paid Millions In Executive Bonuses During Pandemic

Airline Avianca Holdings came under broad criticism in Colombia for paying its top two executives $6 million in bonuses in May, at a time when the carrier had furloughed most of its employees without pay and was preparing a bankruptcy filing, Reuters reported. According to bankruptcy court documents submitted by Avianca itself, the airline paid Chief Executive Anco van der Werff $3.7 million and paid Chief Financial Officer Adrian Neuhauser $2.8 million on May 6. Five days later, the airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. “Avianca is facing the most challenging crisis in our 100-year history,” van der Werff said at the time. On Wednesday, Avianca defended the bonuses, saying they were necessary “as an incentive for the company’s management team to continue to provide services to Avianca.” Read more