Brazilian Startup ITA Transportes Aéreos Receives Its AOC

There’s officially a new airline in Brazil. Last weekend, the Civil Aviation National Authority (ANAC) gave Ita Transportes Aéreos its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). Therefore, it’s only a matter of time before we see the first commercial flight of the yellow-branded new carrier.

Ita Transportes Aéreos
This is Latin America’s new airline: Ita Transportes Aéreos. Photo: Ita Transportes Aéreos

Ita’s busy year before launch

In February 2020, we first reported about a Brazilian startup in the making. The details were scarce at that time, and the original reports claimed that Ita would have flown with a fleet of 35 Bombardier aircraft. Now we know that wasn’t too close to the truth.

Ita Transportes Aéreos is going to be a seemingly low-cost point-to-point domestic carrier in Brazil. It will fly with a fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft. It already has one, and it is close to receiving its second.

Worldwide, there seems to be a trend of launching new carriers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In Latin America, we’ve followed the steps of at least seven new possible startups. Of these seven carriers, only two seem to be on the right track so far. One of those is Ita Transportes Aéreos, the other is Ecuatoriana Airlines.

Over the last few months, Ita’s new management under CEO Tiago Senna has worked towards the carrier’s launch. These efforts peaked the last few weeks with several milestones.

Ita Transportes Aéreos
Ita received its AOC last Friday. Photo: Ita Transportes Aéreos

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The certification flights and the AOC

Between April 11 and 15, Ita and ANAC did several certification flights across five Brazilian cities. The airline used its only aircraft, an Airbus A320 registration PS-SPJ. Ita flew between Sao Jose dos Campos (where the aircraft is stored), Sao Paulo, Confins, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Porto Alegre.

Fifteen days later, ANAC finally gave the AOC to the new airline. In a statement posted on Facebook, Ita said,

“April 30 was a historic day for the Brazilian aviation industry. ITA received its AOC! Brazil will earn more comfort, better services, wider cabins with Ita’s jets. 

According to the Brazilian newspaper Panrotas, the airline will announce shortly when it will start flying. Ita will also announce the routes and fares it will offer.

Ita Transportes Aéreos
Ita Transportes Aéreos will enter a market dominated by LATAM, GOL, and Azul. Photo: Ita Transportes Aéreos.

How’s the Brazilian market?

Ita doesn’t have an easy task ahead. The Brazilian aviation market is dominated by three players, GOL Linhas Aereas, Azul Linhas Aereas, and LATAM Brazil. These three airlines have 99% of the market share. Every other carrier is either regional or cargo.

Fortunately for Ita Transportes Aéreos, the brand is not new to the Brazilian public. Grupo Itapemirim is the leading bus company in Brazil and has nearly seven decades of history.

Pre-pandemic, Grupo Itapemirim carried 2.5 million passengers yearly, with a fleet of 300 buses. It served nearly 2,700 Brazilian cities across 19 provinces.

While the company’s success in the bus industry doesn’t guarantee the same results for the airline, it does give Ita an edge. The Itapemirim brand is well recognized across the country. Many Brazilians have never been inside an aircraft before but have ridden a bus. Before the pandemic, trips per capita in Brazil were 0.4, approximately. There’s a big market ready to burst.

As Tiago Senna said, Ita will try to “democratize the airline industry” by offering a new, more comforting experience.

Are you excited about this new Brazilian airline? Let us know in the comments.