Brazilian airlines Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras and Trip Linhas Aéreas have unveiled merger plans that, if approved, would create a carrier with a 15% share of domestic passenger traffic.

A new parent company, Azul Trip, has been created to oversee the integration of the two operations, headed up by current Azul founder and chairman David Neeleman, with Trip chief executive José Mario Caprioli overseeing an integration committee.

"Trip is a remarkable company, whose vigorous growth in recent years has made it the largest regional airline in South America," says Neeleman. "Together we will work together to make air travel more accessible and more enjoyable for our customers."

The combined operation will have a total fleet of 112 Embraer jets and ATR turboprops and operate 837 daily flights on 316 routes.

"We see in Azul a partner that shares the same values as well as a complementary business model. Azul is a well-run company with a great brand that has grown quickly and responsibly while remaining focused on safety and providing quality service," adds Caprioli.

The two companies will remain as separate entities until Brazil's competition authority gives the go-ahead for the deal.

No financial details of the merger were disclosed.

Azul is currently Brazil's third largest carrier behind Gol and TAM, which are themselves merging with domestic operator WebJet and Chilean airline LAN respectively.

Trip, in which US carrier SkyWest A holds a 20% stake, last year unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate an alliance with TAM.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news