Airline Startup Of The Week: Brazil’s Ita

There will be a new airline in Brazil by 2021. The bus company Itapemirim Group received $500 million USD to set up, among other initiatives, a new airline in the country, said local newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.

Itapemirim is launching a new airline in Brazil, with a Bombardier fleet. Photo: Bombardier

A new Bombardier-based airline

Sidnei Piva, Itapemirim president said that one of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds provided with the $500 million USD to start up a new airline. The current name for this carrier is Ita, according to AirlineGeeks.

The Brazilian businessman said that he already signed an agreement with Bombardier for 35 airplanes. Consequently, he should receive the first airplane by 2021.

According to him, the agreement signed is for two types of airplanes. Fifteen of them will have a capacity for 80 passengers, or so, while the 20 remaining will have a capacity for 100 passengers.

So, what kind of airplane are we talking about? As we know, Bombardier has tried very hard to exit the commercial airplane industry. Last week, it sold its remaining stake of the A220 program to Airbus and Quebec. Previously, Bombardier announced the sale of its CRJ Program to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. And to top it all, Bombardier also sold its Dash 8 program to Viking Air for $300 million USD.

As of February 2020, the sale of the CRJ Program to Mitsubishi is not completed. Bombardier is still announcing these aircraft on its website. We can only assume, given the characteristics announced by Piva, that the order made is for the CRJ700 and the CRJ1000.

We contacted Bombardier but, at the moment of the publication of this article, we had no answer.

The CRJ700 has a maximum capacity of 78 passengers with a range of 1,400 nautical miles. Meanwhile, the CRJ1000 has a maximum capacity for 104 passengers, with a range of 1,650 nautical miles. These planes would allow Ita to fly directly to almost every spot in Brazil, departing from Sao Paulo.

Range for CRJ700 and CRJ1000
These are the ranges for the CRJ700 and the CRJ1000 departing from Sao Paulo. Photo: Great Circle Mapper

The needs of Brazilian domestic sector

Brazil urgently needs more connectivity. Therefore, the Brazilian government has opened its domestic market to international carriers. Currently, two foreign airlines are interested in operating domestic flights in Brazil: Air Nostrum and Air Europa.

According to ALTA, people in Brazil travel by air less than 0.5 times a year. But, in 2017, IATA forecasted that the air transport market in Brazil could grow by 105% in the next 20 years. “This would result in an additional 10 million passenger journeys by 2037.”

At that moment, the country had four main domestic airlines. But in 2019, Avianca Brazil ceased operations, leaving a gap in the market that is now being fulfilled by GOL, LATAM and Azul.

As ALTA said in a statement,

“The development of interconnectivity in our countries is fundamental. A more connected country distributes better the benefits created by aviation and generates economic and social growth.”

Will Ita use the CRJ700 and the CRJ1000? Photo: Bombardier

What is Itapemirim?

Itapemirim is a bus company founded in 1953. It started as a small bus line with a fleet of only 16 omnibuses. Currently, it is the largest road passenger transport business in all of Latin America.

Still, the bus company is facing financial problems. That’s why Piva went to the UAE. He asked for funds to face the economical constraints of Itapemirim, renew its bus fleet and, also launch his dream of having an airline.

We tried to reach Itapemirim for a comment on the launch of this new airline. But, at the time of the publication of this article, we haven’t received an answer.

What do you think? Do you like the idea of a new airline in Brazil? Let us know in the comments.