By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Spanish-based Air Europa has requested authorization to operate domestic flights in Brazil. The decision, despite the staggering Brazilian economy and the problems faced by the sector in the country, was celebrated by government officials.
“Good news! Grupo Globalia, of AirEuropa, is establishing a new aviation company in Brazil,” the minister of infrastructure, Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas, tweeted on Saturday.
“It is important to note that it will be the first company to operate in the Brazilian (domestic) market due to (executive decree) MP [863/18] that opened foreign capital in domestic companies. Obtaining the authorization, it will hire Brazilian pilots and crew, generating jobs, competition in the sector, and new investments in the country,” added Freitas.
The company already operates flights in the country, but only on international routes, linking Madrid, the Spanish capital, to cities in the Northeast and Southeast regions.
With Avianca Brasil in judicial recovery, the entry of new companies has been defended by the government as fundamental for rebalancing the offer of flights and reducing the price of tickets.
Avianca was one of the four largest airline companies operating in the country. Today, it has returned most of its aircrafts to creditors and has laid off most of its employees, including pilots and crew. Now Spain’s Air Europa tries to fill in the void in the domestic market.
Last year, at least three foreign low-cost airline companies requested authorization from Brazil’s National Aviation Agency (ANAC) to fly international routes to and from Brazil.
In July, Norwegian Air requested authorization to fly into the country. It was the first request from a foreign low-cost airline to operate in the country.
Norwegian Air is the third low-cost airline in Europe, only behind EasyJet and RyanAir. The service started at the end of March, flying non-stop flights between London Gatwick and Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport four times a week.
In November, it was Chilean company Sky Airline’s turn to the Brazilian aviation regulator to authorize its flights from Chile to several destinations in Brazil.
The Argentinian company Flybondi also expressed the wish to operate between Argentina and Brazil. In August, the company received authorization from the Argentine government to operate international routes between the two countries and is now seeking approval from Brazilian authorities.