Brazil's Passaredo wants week-day Congonhas slots

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Passaredo Linhas Aereas, now Brazil's largest independent regional airline, has requested from the country's civil aviation authority (ANAC) the authorization to start weekday operations from the highly congested Sao Paulo Congonhas downtown airport.

After the just announced merger between Campinas-based Azul and Trip, Riberao Preto (Sao Paulo state)-based Passaredo is now the largest independent regional carrier in Brazil as it plans to double its current fleet of 14 Embraer 145 regional jets with the same number of ATR 72-600 aircraft.

Last week, the airline ordered 10 ATR 72-600, plus 10 options.

In order to speed up the introduction of turboprops, it also has leased four ATR 72-600 from Air Lease Corporation, of which it has now received the first aircraft.

Additionally, Passaredo plans to operate temporarily two ATR 72-500s, until building up its full fleets of -600s

Commenting on Passaredo's strategy after receiving the first ATR earlier this week, Passaredo's president and CEO Jose Luiz Felicio Filho says: "We are already operating at Congonhas during weekends, but now we have asked ANAC to authorize flights on weekdays, too". However, he did not reveal the new routes Passaredo intends to operate.

He considers the introduction of the latest version of the ATR 72 will allow Passaredo to "compete more aggressively", reducing fares in the already highly competitive Sao Paulo state regional airline market.

Despite its recent commercial agreements with GOL, Felicio makes clear that Passaredo is not pursuing a merger with a major carrier, despite ever increasing competitive pressure in a rapidly maturing market. "We are just not interested", he says.