Brazil's competition watchdog criticises Congonhas situation

Madrid
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The Brazilian anti-monopoly authority CADE has criticised the competitive situation at Sao Paulo Congonhas airport, the country's busiest domestic airport.

A CADE representative called the situation "critical" as it is dominated by a duopoly of airlines - TAM and GOL - which own more than 90% of the available slots.

He lamented that the airport does "not even have a [significant] third operator", showing his concern about the complete lack of availability of commercially attractive slots at peak times.

Brazil's third largest airline Azul, which just announced an initial public offering (IPO) to finance its fleet and route expansion, has repeatedly confirmed its interest in operating from Congonhas.

The Brazilian Secretary of Aviation opened a public hearing process to propose new slot distribution rules for the airport earlier this year. After several delays caused by fundamental disagreements between the principal stakeholders, the document is now expected to be published by the end of June.

One of the options under consideration to improve the slot situation at Congonhas is the elimination of all executive aviation operations at the airport, which are using nearly one sixth of the slots.