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ALTA: Gol expects to retain TAP as partner

Brazil's Gol expects to retain its codeshare agreement with TAP Portugal, despite the European airline now being majority-owned by a consortium led by Azul founder David Neeleman.

"We have the biggest network in Brazil. We don't believe they don't want it," Gol's director for institutional relations and alliances Alberto Fajerman tells Flightglobal.

Neeleman's Atlantic Gateway consortium closed on a 61% acquisition of TAP earlier this month, clearing the way for TAP and Azul to be partners. TAP chief Fernando Pinto had said previously that he sees space for more than one Brazilian partner, despite the rivalry between Azul and Gol.

TAP and Gol have codeshared since 2014. TAP has not indicated that it plans to exit the agreement, says Fajerman.

Azul's investment in TAP comes as Brazilian carriers continue to face weak demand with Brazil's economic recession. Fajerman says: "We are suffering, especially in the reduction of business passengers."

Gol recently announced aircraft deferrals, changes to its network and plans to sublease more aircraft during its low season.

The crisis in Brazil has also thrown into doubt a regional aviation incentives package that the government had previously promoted. Fajerman is doubtful the incentives will be offered anytime soon, despite lawmakers approving them previously.

"The law is there, but the money is not," he says.

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