Gol and Avianca to combine under umbrella of holding company

Brazilian airline Gol Linhas Aereas Intellegentes SA (Gol) and Columbia carrier Avianca have announced they are coming together under one umbrella in the form of a holding company named the Abra Group.

While the two companies will remain independent, their combination will make them one of South America’s largest carriers that would be a match for Chile’s LATAM Airlines Group where scheduled seats are concerned. Abra Group will have Gol and Avianca as controlling main shareholders, despite the two airlines maintaining their individual brands.

The deal, which will also include investor commitment of up to US$350 million (£287 million) in Abra Group, is expected to close in the second half of the year. However, the combination may attract attention from competition regulators as, having successfully completed its bankruptcy reorganisation last year, Avianca has already agreed to merge with major Columbian carrier Viva while, according to Reuters news agency, the Abra Group, which describes itself as a “pan-Latin American network of airlines,” will also own a non-controlling 100% economic interest in Viva’s operations in Colombia and Peru and a minority interest in Chile’s Sky Airline.

Where issues could arise concerning the joint operation may relate to American Airlines holding a stake in Gol and JetSmart, while Avianca is a partner of United Airlines.

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