Brazilian regional airline Passaredo has acquired compatriot carrier MAP.

The networks of the two ATR turboprop operators do no overlap, as Passaredo's flights are centred around its Riberao Preto home base in Sao Paulo, in the country's south, while MAP operates in the vast Amazon basin around its Manaus and Belem bases.

Passaredo recently disclosed plans to expand its network to Brasilia and Salvador de Bahia in northeastern Brazil.

The two airlines have a combined fleet of 10 ATR 42/72 turboprops, with three more ATR 72-500s scheduled to arrive shortly.

Both of the operators were recipients, together with Azul, of slots abandoned by Avianca Brasil at Sao Paulo Congonhas, Brazil's busiest and most congested airport.

These slots were considered the most valuable asset of the now-bankrupt former Star Alliance member.

Brazil's civil aviation agency ANAC earlier this month awarded 14 daily slots at Congonhas to Passaredo and 12 to MAP. While Passaredo has a dense network in Sao Paulo state, spanning Sao Paulo's Guarulhos International airport, MAP has no local presence.

Passaredo – now the fourth-largest operator at Congonhas, after LATAM, Gol and Azul – has already hinted at eventually substituting its initial ATR operations with larger aircraft in the future. In July, the airline's executive director Eduardo Busch said it was already "looking into leasing 150-seater jets".

This consolidation with MAP converts Passaredo, which emerged in 2017 from a lengthy bankruptcy administration process, into a potential takeover candidate.

In July, media reports suggested that Azul was interested in acquiring Passaredo, though this has not materialised. However, domestic market leader Gol is deepening its commercial relationship with the regional airline, having recently announced Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Araguaina and Barreiras as new destinations to be operated by Passaredo, via Brasilia, under a codeshare agreement.

Source: Cirium Dashboard