JetSMART airline no longer interested in buying Colombia's Ultra Air

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

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

In its statement, JetSMART said "diverse factors" caused it to reconsider the purchase, without providing further explanation.

JetSMART Chief Executive Estuardo Ortiz said the airline was focused on gaining a domestic license as soon as possible, which he said would allow it to participate in a reassignment of take-off and landing slots at Bogota's El Dorado airport.

JetSMART operates more than 79 routes across South America, and is owned by Indigo Partners, which has a portfolio of airlines including Europe's Wizz Air (WIZZ.L), U.S.-based Frontier Airlines, Mexico's Volaris and Canada's Lynx.

The JetSMART announcement came hours after Colombia's civil aviation authority gave conditional approval for a merger between Avianca (AVT_p.CN), the country's largest airline, and Viva Air.

JetSMART had previously expressed interest in buying Viva.

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

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