Avianca Brazil to expand A319 fleet in 2011

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Avianca Brazil, previously known as OceanAir, is planning further capacity growth next year as it expands its new Airbus A319 fleet.

Avianca Brazil earlier this year took delivery of its first A320 family aircraft and now operates three A319s alongside its fleet of 14 Fokker 100s. Avianca Brazil's chief, Jose Efromovich, tells ATI the carrier is preparing to add at least four additional A319s in 2011.

He says the final figure "is not certain" but it will be "more than four". Avianca Brazil's initial fleet of three A319s were sourced from Avianca-TACA's outstanding A320 order book.

Avianca Brazil is currently not part of the Avianca-TACA group but plans to formally be integrated into the group next year. Synergy Aerospace, which is controlled by the Efromovich family, currently owns all of Avianca Brazil and a majority stake in the holding company that was created early this year for the Avianca-TACA.

Efromovich says the A319s at Avianca Brazil have been used to resume growth after two years in which the carrier did not add any capacity. During these two years, Avianca Brazil lost market share as Brazil's overall domestic market grew rapidly.

Through the first three quarters of 2010, however, the three A319s drove a 26% increase in RPKs at Avianca Brazil, according to Brazil's ANAC data. Avianca Brazil currently has a 2.6% share of the domestic market, making it Brazil's fifth largest domestic carrier after TAM, Gol, Azul and Webjet.

So far Avianca Brazil has used its A319s to add capacity on some of its densest domestic routes. The carrier last month also unveiled plans to use one of its A319s to launch its first international route - Sao Paulo-Bogota.

Efromovich says Avianca Brazil plans to add three to four new destinations next year and further increase frequencies on some of its existing domestic routes. He expects the 2011 network expansion will include a mix of new domestic and international destinations, but says Avianca Brazil has not yet honed in on any specific routes.