TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
FRANKFURT — Avianca Brasil is withdrawing from Star Alliance effective Sept. 1, 2019.
The beleaguered carrier, now Ocean Air Linhas Aéreas S/A and headquartered in São Paulo, announced back in December 2018 that it was filing for bankruptcy protection with debts of US$127 million. Flights continued to operate, however the airline’s network contracted rapidly. By April 2019 Avianca Brasil was cancelling upwards of 1,045 domestic flights in one week and was down to just seven planes in its fleet.
The airline also saw its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) withdrawn by Brazilian regulator ANAC.
The Star Alliance network has maintained a significant and long-time presence in the Brazilian market continuously since its founding in 1997.
As of Sept. 1, the Alliance will number 27 member airlines.
“Initially joining Star Alliance in 2015, Avianca Brasil made important contributions to our customer proposition in the Brazilian market, and we regret this unfortunate development,” said Jeffrey Goh, CEO, Star Alliance.
“I wish to stress that the exit of Avianca Brasil in no way affects the membership of Avianca S.A., our valued member based in Bogota, Colombia, which continues to be a significant contributor to the Alliance in South America.”
Eleven of the Star Alliance member airlines offer direct services to and from Brazil, namely: Air Canada, Avianca, Air China, Copa Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, South African Airways, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines and United.
Taken together, Star Alliance member airlines operate 588 weekly flights from 11 domestic points in Brazil to 17 Star Alliance hubs, offering connections to a further 738 international destinations, more than any other airline alliance.