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Avianca airlines employees at Afonso Pena International Airport in Sao Jose dos Pinhais, Brazil on Dec. 13, 2018.

PAULO WHITAKER/Reuters

Colombian airline Avianca Holdings cancelled an order of 17 Airbus A320 Neo aircraft and delayed deliveries on 35 others, according to a securities filing on Friday.

Avianca said this would reduce its financial commitments between 2020 and 2022 by US$2.6-billion. The Colombian carrier has shifted its strategy to focus on profitability from growth.

The airline is following in the footstep of regional rival LATAM Airlines, which in recent months has said it was reducing future fleet commitments by US$2.2-billion.

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Avianca, United Continental Holdings Inc and Panama’s Copa Holdings announced late last year that they would form an alliance to try to expand their reach in the Latin American market, excluding Brazil.

Avianca is separate from Avianca Brasil, a struggling carrier that filed for bankruptcy in December, although they share owners. Up until last month, the two airlines had been carrying out due diligence for a potential merger, but that process has been suspended.

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