Spain’s Iberia subsidiary Air Nostrum wants to start flying domestic routes in Brazil. Air Nostrum now has the distinction of being the second foreign-owned airline to apply for permission to operate domestic flights in Brazil.
In a statement released on Friday, Brazilian civil aviation regulator, ANAC said that Air Nostrum could start flying domestic flights starting in the second half of 2020 under a new airline name.
Air Nostrum is a Spanish domestic airline
Based at Valencia Manises Airport (VLC) in Spain’s third-largest city behind Madrid and Barcelona, Air Nostrum is an independent airline that operates flights on behalf of national flag carrier Iberia.
Iberia is a member of the oneworld alliance together with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Vueling, Level and soon to be Air Europa, all a part of the International Airlines Group (IAG).
Not surprisingly, Air Nostrums’ interest in entering the Brazilian domestic marketplace comes on the heels of Air Europa subsidiary Grupo Globalia, who became the first 100% foreign-owned company to be given a license to fly domestically in Brazil.
IAG wants to make Madrid a hub between South America and Asia
IAG’s one billion euro purchase of Air Europa is all a part of the company’s business plan to expand into Latin and South America and help Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD) to compete with Frankfort, Amsterdam, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and London Heathrow.
When speaking about the Air Europa purchase Luis Gallego, Chief Executive of Iberia told Euronews:
“This is of strategic importance for the Madrid hub, which in recent years has lagged behind other European hubs. Following this agreement, Madrid will be able to compete with other European hubs on equal terms with a better position on Europe to Latin America routes and the possibility to become a gateway between Asia and Latin America.”
Privately-owned Air Europa was attractive to IAG primarily for its long-haul Latin American routes, which include São Paulo, Salvador da Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Fortaleza in Brazil.
In the last couple of years Brazil has managed to attract foreign airlines but only ones that were interested in flying from Brazil to international destinations such as Norwegian Air Shuttle.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic was also interested in Brazil and will start flights between São Paulo/Guarulhos–Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport (GRU) and London Heathrow (LHR) next month.
In a move similar to what IAG plans to use Air Nostrum for Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with Brazilian airline Gol to act as a feeder airline for its flights to London.
Air Nostrum will compete with Azul Airlines
Air Nostrum’s main competition will come from Azul Airlines who has been using a fleet of ATR-600 aircraft to ferry passengers from smaller airports to larger international hubs.
Due to a lack of competition on many of the domestic routes, ticket prices remain prices high and inaccessible to most people. Air Nostrum entering the market place should help address this problem by creating competition.
Currently, Air Nostrum operates a fleet of seven CRJ200s, eight CRJ900s, 25 CRJ1000s, and 11 ATR 72-600s.