The future of Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos is not looking promising. The Brazilian carrier temporarily ceased operations on December 17, 2021, and has not been able to restore its connectivity since. Moreover, Brazil’s Civil Aviation National Agency (ANAC) has forbidden the airline to sell more tickets. What will happen with Itapemirim? Let’s investigate further.
No more ticket sales
Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos had a short stint as a domestic carrier in Brazil. The airline operated flights between June 29 and December 17, 2021, although its long-term goal was to become one of Brazil’s leading carriers competing directly with GOL, Azul, and LATAM.
Nonetheless, a lack of cash forced Itapemirim to stop operations last month. ANAC also temporarily suspended Itapemirim’s Air Operator Certificate.
Since that happened, many of the airline’s employees have migrated to other carriers. For instance, Azul is openly hiring former Itapemirim cabin crew members.
On Friday, ANAC published a statement forbidding Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos to resume sales of tickets. ANAC said,
“The decision will remain in effect until the company demonstrates compliance with corrective actions such as re-accommodation of passengers, a full reimbursement of the airline tickets to customers who opted for this option, and a response to passengers on all complaints registered on the consumidor.gov.br platform.”
A bankruptcy process?
Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos was a carrier belonging to the Brazilian ground transportation giant Itapemirim Group. This company has one of the largest bus fleets in the Americas, but it is in a bankruptcy process since 2016.
Brazil’s justice system approved Itapemirim Group’s judicial reorganization plan in 2019, and, although it hasn’t been complied with, the company announced the launch of Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos shortly after.
Nonetheless, the fiasco of the shortly-lived carrier has raised alarms in Brazil. On December 29, Brazilian 5th bankruptcy prosecutor Nilton Belli Filho asked a Brazilian court to declare the bankruptcy of Viação Itapemirim and Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos. He is also looking to block the assets of Sidnei Piva de Jesus, owner of Itapemirim Group. Meanwhile, the Public Ministry of São Paulo is looking to add the airline to the whole bankruptcy process of the Itapemirim Group.
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What could have been
Time and time again, we have seen that it becomes complicated for a carrier to relaunch when it temporarily ceases operations. In Latin America, we previously had the example of Interjet, a company that stopped flying on December 11, 2020. Therefore, it seems unlikely that Itapemirim will resume its commercial service.
Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos once looked like a promising attempt of an airline. The Brazilian company promised to have a fleet of up to 50 aircraft within the first five years of operations; Itapemirim also dreamt of having a 40% market share in Brazil and even flying to Europe. Nonetheless, nothing came to fruition.
Itapemirim carried nearly 360,000 passengers in its brief history and became Brazil’s fifth-largest domestic carrier. It surpassed other operators like MAP Transportes Aéreos and Azul Conecta. The airline had a fleet of seven aircraft (six Airbus A320 and one A319). Earlier this week, it was reported that Deucalion Aviation, a leasing company, was taking back two planes.
Did you travel with Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos during its short life as a Brazilian domestic carrier? How was the service onboard? Let us know in the comments below.