Star Alliance has announced that Brazilian carrier Ocean Air Linhas Aéreas, which previously operated as Avianca Brasil, will leave the global airline group. The development, which will formally take effect on September 1, follows several months of bankruptcy protection proceedings. In May the ANAC – Brazil’s aviation regulator – removed the firm’s Air Operator Certificate, citing “safety concerns” at the São Paulo-based airline.
Jeffrey Goh, Star Alliance CEO, commented: “Initially joining Star Alliance in 2015, Avianca Brasil made important contributions to our customer proposition in the Brazilian market, and we regret this unfortunate development. I wish to stress that the exit of Avianca Brasil in no way affects the membership of Avianca S.A., our valued member based in Bogota, Colombia, which continues to be a significant contributor to the Alliance in South America.”
Star has sought to rebuff any concerns that the demise of Avianca Brasil will adversely impact its competitiveness in the region. In a statement issued by the alliance, it said the organisation “maintains a significant and long-term presence” in the Brazilian market.
The carrier’s departure will leave the group with 27 member airlines, of which eleven offer direct services to and from Brazil. These include major global players such as Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines. Figures provided by Star Alliance to Airliner World state that the group’s member airlines operate 588 weekly flights from 11 domestic points in Brazil to 17 Star Alliance hubs, offering connections to a further 738 international destinations.