Trip merger prevented fight for supremacy: Azul

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Azul would have ultimately prevailed in its battle with Trip to establish a dominant position at Belo Horizonte airport if it had it not merged with the regional Brazilian carrier, argues executive vice-president of commercial Trey Urbahn.

Speaking at the Future of Air Transport conference in London on 25 November, Urbahn said the domestic two carriers were locked in a struggle to establish hubs at Belo Horizonte last year and "were creating losses on each other by fighting to establish a position there" .

He adds: "Had we not purchased them [Trip], ultimately we would have prevailed, but it was a better solution to just buy them and combine forces."

The carriers made public their plans in May 2012 and were given regulatory backing for the deal in March this year.

Urbahn says the two carriers have very complementary fleets and Trip was a "natural fit" for Azul.

Speaking more broadly, Urbahn says Azul remains "bullish" about the future prospects for growth in Brazil.

While Brazil’s hosting of the 2016 Olympic Games would likely produce a "net negative" for the Brazilian carrier in the short term, Urbahn says the construction of new stadiums, roads, airports and infrastructure in the run-up to the event will "drive a lot of economic growth that will be sustainable".

After a period of instability relating to the devaluation of the Brazilian real against the dollar, during which riots "scared investors", Brazil is now moving back to a "growth trajectory", says Urbahn.