OceanAir Will Accept Tickets of Brazilian Carrier BRA
Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- OceanAir, a regional airline in Brazil, agreed to honor as many as 70,000 tickets sold by BRA Transportes Aereos Ltda., which grounded its planes last week.
Closely held OceanAir is in talks with leasing companies to rent BRA's planes, German Efromovich, who controls OceanAir, told reporters in Sao Paulo. OceanAir agreed to accept tickets sold before Sao Paulo-based BRA, Brazil's third-largest carrier, halted service, Efromovich said. The accord followed a request from the country's civil aviation authority.
Brazilian airlines are struggling to fill seats in the wake of two major air crashes in the past 14 months. The disasters led to flight restrictions and delays, prompting many passengers to avoid air travel in Latin America's biggest economy.
''We plan to fly BRA routes,'' Efromovich said. ''OceanAir will transport BRA passengers as long as we have seats available in our planes,'' at BRA's expense.
BRA, also closely held, stopped flying last week after running out of cash. The company plans to file for bankruptcy protection, O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported on Nov. 10.
OceanAir has a fleet of 30 aircraft, including 16 Fokker-100 jets. The company plans to take over BRA leasing contracts for six Boeing Co. 737s and three Boeing 767s, Efromovich said. OceanAir, which employs 1,400 workers, plans to add about 500 more after taking over BRA's aircraft leases.
Efromovich, the Bolivian-born owner of Brazil's Synergy Group, is building up his airline business in Latin America by acquiring troubled companies. Synergy acquired Avianca SA, Colombia's largest airline, in 2004 in a plan to emerge from bankruptcy.
BRA is the fourth Brazilian airline since 2001 to collapse. Varig was sold in 2006 after filing for bankruptcy protection. Transbrasil SA Linhas Aereas, Brazil's No. 4 airline, grounded its planes on December 2001. Viacao Aerea Sao Paulo SA halted service in September 2004.
In June, BRA ordered $1.46 billion of commercial jets from Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA after Fundo Brazil Air Partners, a private equity fund, bought a stake in the airline. Investors in the fund include Bank of America Corp. and Goldman, Sachs & Co.
I didn't know that BRA was out of business! How are Efromovich chances to obtain the airline and its routes and planes?
Will the group ever be under just one name ? or it will keep two names (Avianca and OceanAir)? I think the latest based on the fact of Efromovich creating OceanAir-Paraguay...
Hope to get some light from our Brazilian A.netters!