2021: The Year Of South American Start Ups?

In 2021, we expect the launch of four new airlines in South America. There will be two new in Brazil, one in Colombia and one in Ecuador. We’ll do a quick recap about what we know of these new airlines, like their fleets, their possible routes, and potential launch dates.

Ita Linhas Aereas
Ita Linhas Aereas seems like it will be the most important start up Latin American airline in 2021. Photo: Ita Linhas Aereas

Ita Linhas Aereas: going from bus lines into the air

The Brazilian bus company Itapemirim is launching an airline called Ita Linhas Aereas in March 2021. Recently, Tiago Senna, Ita’s CEO, said that the airline would operate from Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and Vitória.

The launch date of the airline would be March 21, 2020, according to Senna. Initially, Ita Linhas Aereas plans to operate with a fleet of 10 Airbus A320, although it plans to increase to a hundred aircraft by 2026. On its website, the airline says,

“The objective is to fly to every corner in Brazil, democratizing air transportation. With the invaluable experience of a company that already serves more than 50% of Brazilian cities using ground transportation, it will be an innovative company without precedents.” 

In a recent interview, Senna said that it is inadmissible that there are only three big airlines in Brazil.

Nella Linhas Aereas
Nella Linhas Aereas would start with a fleet of ATR aircraft. Photo: Nella Linhas Aereas.

Nella Linhas Aereas

Reports are suggesting that another Brazilian airline might appear in the new few months. It is called Nella Linhas Aéreas.

Last week, Brazil’s Central Bank approved the registration of Nella. The interesting part about Nella is that it would be the first Brazilian airline wholly owned by foreign investors. The registration of Nella is in Delaware, in the US.

Other foreign airlines, like Iberia’s subsidiary Air Nostrum, have shown interest in operating domestic flights in Brazil. But so far, only Nella seems to be on track to get airborne, according to Tudo Viagem.

The plan is for Nella to start operating within the first six months of 2021. According to some media outlets, it would have a fleet of four ATR 42 aircraft. Most likely, Nella would use this fleet on domestic routes within Brazil.

The new low-cost kid on the block: Ultra Air

Last week, we published about the future new Colombian low-cost carrier, Ultra Air. This airline expects to use a fleet of eight Airbus A320 CEO, Boeing 737 Classic, or Boeing 737 MAX.

Recently, William Shaw (founder of Ultra Air) said that the airline would offer airfares 20% lower than other carriers in Colombia. He added that Ultra Air would have a 10% domestic market share within its first year of operations.

While there isn’t a launch date, Ultra Air expects to operate by May or June of 2021. It will have 29 domestic routes and 15 international. The Colombian government is currently studying the business case of Ultra Air.

Ecuatoriana de Aviación
Ecuatoriana Airlines is a reborn Ecuatoriana de Aviación. Photo: Alan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons.

The rebirth of Ecuatoriana

Ecuatoriana Airlines is the newest carrier to appear in Ecuador. While the company is new, the brand it is using is not. Ecuatoriana Airlines will thrive on the former glory of Ecuatoriana de Aviación, a former airline that ceased operations in 2006.

The airline plans to operate within the first quarter of 2021. In early November, it announced that the Ecuadorian government gave it the official permit to operate domestic routes.

The airline plans to operate 29 routes from seven Ecuadorian cities. It will fly from Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Santa Rosa, Esmeralda, Manta, and Loja.

Additionally, when it filed for its AOC, the airline said it could use a fleet of Beechcraft B1900C, ATR 42-500, Dash 8-Q200, Airbus A220-100, Airbus A319, or Boeing 737 Classic Series. Nevertheless, the airline is still evaluating its options.

Do you know of any other start up airline that might be launching soon in Latin America? Let us know in the comments.