New Brazilian start-up ITA Transportes Aéreos

A new Brazilian airline, ITA Transportes Aéreos (Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos), received its first aircraft, a 15 year-old Airbus A320-200 previously operated by Spanair (a former Spanish scheduled airline) and Vueling (a Spanish low-cost airline) on the 20th of February and is to start operations on the 19th of March. Founded in early 2020 by parent company Viaçao Itapemirim SA, a Brazilian transport company, the airline originally planned to operate using Airbus A320-200s and Bombardier Q400s, but it currently has 9 Airbus A320-200s in its order book, planning to operate 10 aircraft by the end of this year and 50 in several years time. This is because of a large drop in sales for Airbus, forcing the aerospace company to lower aircraft prices due to low demand. All these aircraft are leased and second-hand. ITA will operate a large domestic network across the Brazilian coast and will launch flights with a route from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil’s former capital) to southern coastal town Sao Paulo. This comes after 2020’s decimation of the airline industry, especially that of South America, which saw its 2 biggest airlines, LATAM and Avianca, file for bankruptcy and 4 airlines cease operations. This is Viaçao’s fourth attempt at trying to reintegrate the airline industry: its first airline, Itapemirim Linhas Aéreas, was acquired by TAM (the Brazilian flag carrier, before its merger with Chilean flag carrier LAN to form LATAM in 2012) in 1998, its second, a cargo division of Itapemirim went bankrupt in 1999, its third, an attempt to acquire regional airline Passaredo in 2017, failed due to breach of contract. ITA’s CEO Tiago Senna admits that restructuring processes to do with the bankruptcy of the cargo division are still going on, but that the new airline is not concerned by this. On the more positive side, the airline has received extra funding of $500 million from the Prime Minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s, private fund. Some sources say that ITA will be based out of Sao Paulo, whereas others declare that it will be based at Belo Horizonte. 13th of March 2021.

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