Troubled Avianca Brasil will leave Star Alliance on 01 September 2019.
Avianca Brasil has experienced many setbacks over the last nine months. After filing for bankruptcy last December, it faced a prolonged aircraft repossession battle with creditors. Then in May its remaining fleet was grounded for “safety concerns” by Brazil’s civil aviation regulator ANAC. In June, the carrier’s operating certificate was revoked and it lost its slots.
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Avianca Brasil’s exit from Star Alliance will not impact Avianca, SA.
Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh stressed that the departure of Avianca Brasil “in no way affects the membership of Avianca SA, our valued member based in Bogota, Colombia”.
A Blow To Star Alliance
The move represents a blow to Star Alliance, which now lacks a domestic and regional network based in Brazil. Star Alliance lost TAM to its merger with LAN, but added Avianca Brasil in 2016.
Star Alliance carriers serving Brazil include:
- Air Canada (Montreal, Toronto – Sao Paulo)
- Air China (Beijing via Madrid – Sao Paulo)
- Avianca (Bogota, Lima – Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro)
- Copa Airlines (Panama City – Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro)
- Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa via Buenos Aires – Sao Paulo)
- Lufthansa (Munich, Frankfurt – Sao Paulo; Frankfurt – Rio de Janeiro)
- South African Airways (Johannesburg – Sao Paulo)
- SWISS (Zurich – Sao Paulo)
- TAP Air Portugal (Lisbon – Belém, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador da Bahia, Sao Paulo; Porto – Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro)
- Turkish Airlines (Istanbul via Buenos Aires – Sao Paulo)
- United Airlines ( Chicago, Houston, Newark, Washington – Sao Paulo; Houston – Rio de Janeiro)
These carriers combine for a total of 588 weekly flights from 11 domestic points in Brazil to 17 Star Alliance hubs.
United and TAP partner with Azul (United owns 8% of it)…it would not surprise me if Star Alliance was already talking to Azul about becoming a Connecting Partner.
This news is hardly a surprise for those who have followed the demise of Avianca Brasil. Still, this represents a serious loss of seamless connectivity for Star Alliance flyers.