The new Brazilian airline, Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos (also known only as ITA), is dreaming big. It will launch operations on June 29 and 30, but it already sees well beyond that, into the future. Itapemirim plans to become Brazil’s largest airline and fly to Europe. Is it too great a dream? Let’s investigate further.
Short-term big, big plans
Sidnei Piva, Itapemirim’s president, recently said some bold predictions for the new airline. Within the following year, he plans to have 50 planes (it currently has two) and a route map of 35 destinations.
Moreover, Sidnei Piva intends Itapemirim to gain up to 40% of the Brazilian market share, effectively pushing its way through the trifecta of Azul, GOL, and LATAM. During an interview with Brazilian media outlet Exame, Piva said,
“Entering the market is like driving in Formula 1. No one wants to end last. Everyone wants to win. We are a new team, but we have always desired to be on the podium. If a businessman expects to be third overall, he is mediocre.”
He definitely expects to have massive growth within the first twelve months. Ita Transportes Aéreos is aiming to be a point-to-point low-cost airline. On June 30, ITA will officially start operations from eight Brazilian cities.
On August 1, ITA will add six more Brazilian destinations, increasing every so often until it gets to 35 by June 2022.
To achieve these big short-term plans, the airline needs to receive its Airbus A320 fleet. Currently, it only has two (of which, only one already has a Brazilian registration, per ch-aviation).
As of April 2021, Azul had a 37.5% domestic market share, followed by GOL with 30% and LATAM with 27%. These three airlines have well-established fleets and route maps; therefore, ITA’s task is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination.
What about Europe?
ITA Transportes Aéreos is not only thinking about Brazil; the airline is also looking to connect to Europe. Azul only flies to Portugal and France, while LATAM goes to Spain, Portugal, and Germany. GOL doesn’t have long-haul operations at the moment.
Sidnei Piva said that the plan is to have ten different routes into Europe. While he didn’t clarify which destinations it could cover, he did say that the goal is to go international in 2023.
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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 16 airlines were flying between Brazil and Europe, offering nearly 2,500 monthly flights and 745,000 seats, as per Cirium’s database. Currently, this market is severely depressed, with 68.3% fewer flights.
Additionally, ITA Transportes Aéreos hasn’t publicly said which other aircraft (besides the A320) could use in the future. Any plane it chooses for its European venture would require new pilots and certifications and raise its costs.
ITA really is low-cost, for now
According to an analysis published by Exame Invest, Ita Transportes Aéreos’ tickets are up to 65% cheaper than the competition.
For example, fares out of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are 20 to 30% cheaper than GOL’s and LATAM’s.
While these could be introductory fares, it will be interesting to see if ITA maintains them throughout its first months. Azul Linhas Aereas started as a low-cost operator but has shifted, and now is the most expensive one in Brazil.
Do you believe ITA Transportes Aéreos can become Brazil’s largest airline? Let us know in the comments.