The Brazilian airline Azul has confirmed it plans to buy over all of LATAM Airlines' operations, not only the Brazilian branch as reports showed earlier this week. Azul was founded in 2013 by Brazil-born David Neeleman, who also owns low-cost carrier JetBlue.
The company is willing to make an offer if LATAM's creditors cannot agree on a restructuring plan, Azul CEO John Rodgerson told Diario Financiero. Latam is facing bankruptcy if it fails to reach an agreement.
We know exactly what we will offer, Rodgerson said, adding that Azul would likely have to wait until November 23, when the legal limit is exhausted to reach a restructuring plan.
Previously reports said Azul was only interested in buying Latam's Brazilian operations, but Rodgerson said the plan was to buy and retain the entire company.
“We would buy the entire asset. I think the group has a lot of value and we are not thinking of dividing or selling divisions,” he insisted. But if LATAM manages to agree on a restructuring, Azul would not be able to make its offer.
Far from declaring bankruptcy, as LATAM did, Azul went through the crisis without official help, and today it is number one in destinations, flying to 130 cities, more than before the pandemic, Diario Financiero said.
“We can contribute the 45 destinations that Latam currently flies in Brazil to our network of 130 cities, generating additional demand. Consolidation is healthy for the industry and that is what we have been seeing lately with the agreement between JetSmart and American and a possible arrangement between Sky and Avianca,” Neeleman said
“Brazilians travel once every two years; Chileans 1.3 times and Colombians almost once a year. So the Brazilians are far behind and the reason is that our competitors have focused mainly on three cities: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia. 92% of all their seats fly in that triangle. The way to make the market grow is to serve more destinations,” he added.
“The last 10 years have been difficult for Brazil in terms of GDP growth and devaluation. The best way to combat all this is to stimulate the market by bringing new technology, different sizes of aircraft to expand connectivity and create a price point for the service to these cities to become viable.” he concluded.