“We have been working on an [airline] solution in Brazil for some time now,” said Schwab, adding that Avianca Brazil has fulfilled all membership requirements.
Avianca Brazil operates to 24 airports in Brazil, CEO Jose Efromovich said. The carrier offers 210 daily flights within Brazil from its hubs at São Paulo, Guarulhos, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Salvador.
“Currently we operate a fleet of 41 aircraft, including one Airbus A330F. Our last Fokker 100 will leave the fleet in August, and then we will become an all Airbus operator,” Efromovich told ATW. The fleet includes Airbus A318/319/320s. After the Fokker 100s leave the fleet, the average age of the fleet will be reduced to four years.
Avianca Brazil carried more than 7 million passengers in 2014 and expects the number to rise to 8.6 million this year. “In 2014, we had a load factor of 84% with a market share in Brazil of about 9.8%,” Efromovich said, adding the carrier has concentrated on increasing frequencies to current destinations instead of extending the network in recent years.
Avianca Brazil is 100% owned by the Synergy Group. Avianca Colombia was its mentor for the joining process.
Star Alliance may need an additional carrier in Brazil after TAM left the alliance for oneworld last year.
“We are a talking to a second carrier in Brazil,” Schwab said without giving details, although industry analysts speculate that talks with Azul could be possible.
Star Alliance currently offers 1,321 destinations and 18,500 daily flights (excluding Avianca Brazil).