Avianca Brazil officially joined the Star Alliance today, helping to narrow a gap in the grouping’s network in South America’s biggest market.
The Sao Paulo-based carrier will add 15 new destinations in Brazil to Star’s network, on top of the 12 already served by Star members.
Calling Avianca Brazil a “perfect fit” for the alliance, Star chief executive Mark Schwab says: “We are back again where we belong.”
Star lost an important partner in Brazil when TAM left the alliance for Oneworld in 2014 following its merger with LAN, and has since sought new partners to better connect to South America’s biggest domestic market.
Avianca Brazil’s sister carrier, Colombia’s Avianca, is already a Star member.
“We are proud to be part of the most experienced airline alliance and are pleased to put Brazil back on the Star Alliance map,” says Avianca Brazil’s president Jose Efromovich.
Prior to joining the alliance, the airline overhauled its IT systems, which was required in order for the carrier to codeshare with Star partners in the future.
Avianca Brazil operates more than 200 daily flights to 24 destinations, the majority of which are in Brazil. The airline, which operates a fleet of 41 aircraft, serves only Bogota outside its home country.
While the airline re-establishes Star’s presence in Brazil, the grouping is also seeking to add Azul as a member. Azul is the third largest Brazilian domestic carrier in terms of market share, followed by Avianca Brazil which has a 9% share.
Schwab says: “The alliance have always maintained the position that the market is large enough to sustain two members.”