- Joe Breitfeller
Avianca and GOL to Create Abra Group, a Leading Latin American Air Transportation Group
Updated: Feb 11
Avianca and GOL shareholders have signed an agreement to create a leading air transportation group across Latin America under a holding company called Abra Group. The Group will also hold 100% non-controlling interest in Viva and a minority interest in Sky Airline.
On Wednesday (May 11, 2022), Avianca announced that their principal shareholders and the controlling shareholder of Brazil’s GOL have signed an agreement to create a leading Latin American air transportation group called Abra Group Limited. Subject to closing conditions, the Group will control Avianca and GOL, and will also have a 100 percent non-controlling interest in Viva’s operations in Colombia and Peru, as well as convertible debt representing a minority interest in Chile’s Sky Airline. The companies believe that Avianca and GOL will anchor a pan-Latin American network that will be able to deliver the lowest unit cost in each of their respective markets, with Avianca and GOL maintaining their independent brands. The Abra Group plans on offering the largest network of complementary routes, with minimum overlap, across the markets served.
Roberto Kriete will serve as the Abra Group’s Chairman. Mr. Kriete grew TACA in the 1980s into the leading Central American carrier before merging it with Avianca in 2009. He also founded the Mexican airline Volaris in 2006. GOL Founder Constantino de Oliveira Junior will serve as the Group’s CEO. He pioneered the Latin American LCC revolution with the founding of GOL in 2001, later acquiring VRG in 2007 and Webjet in 2011, building the airline into a market leader. Avianca’s current President and CEO, Adrian Neuhauser and GOL’s current Chief Financial Officer, Richard Lark, will serve as Co-Presidents of the Abra Group.
In Wednesday’s announcment, Abra Group’s Chairman, Roberto Kriete, said,
“Our vision is to create an airline group that tackles 21st century issues and improves air travel for our customers, employees, and partners as well as the communities in which we operate. Our customers will benefit from access to even better fares, more destinations, more frequent flights and seamless connections, and the ability to earn and use points across the brands’ loyalty programs. They will also be able to enjoy enhanced travel benefits and access to superior products and services.”
Also commenting on the establishment of the holding company, Abra Group’s CEO, Constantino de Oliveira Junior, added,
“This agreement places Abra’s airlines in a position to lead air travel within the region – serving a population of over one billion and GDP of nearly three trillion US dollars – providing significant opportunities for capacity and revenue growth. Our unique enterprise structure will allow each airline to drive results by maintaining their independent brands, talent, teams, and culture and will provide employees more opportunities for personal and professional growth at every stage of their careers.”
Founded in 2001, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A. (NYSE: GOL) is Brazil’s largest airline and a leader in the business and leisure segments. The company operates with the lowest unit cost in Latin America and has helped democratize air travel in the region. GOL maintains alliances with American Airlines and Air France-KLM, as well as many other codeshare partnerships and interline agreements. The airline also operates an award winning loyalty program called ‘Smiles’, as well as GOLLOG, which delivers parcels across various regions in Brazil and abroad in partnership with Mercado Livre. GOL has 14,100 team members and operates a a standardized fleet of 142 Boeing 737s.
Avianca Group International Limited includes Avianca, LifeMiles and Avianca Cargo. Established in 1919, Avianca Airlines is the leading carrier in Colombia, Ecuador, and Central America, and operates one of the largest networks in Latin America with 130 routes and 3,800 weekly departures. Avianca has a fleet of over 110 Airbus and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and serves approximately 65 destinations in the Americas and Europe. The airline’s LifeMiles loyalty program has 450 allied partners and over 10 million members, making it one of the largest in the region. Avianca Cargo serves over 50 destinations with a fleet of Airbus A330s, as well as passenger aircraft belly hold capacity. The company emerged from Bankruptcy at the end of 2021 and currently employs over 12,000 team members.