|Azul’s David Neeleman (right) signs a deal with Gilmar Knaesel, minister of tourism for Santa Catarina state, to be the official carrier for Beto Carrero World, the largest amusement park in Latin America, famed for its “Torre do Terror” freefall ride. Azul had a 3.8% domestic market share in 2009.|
Demand for domestic air travel has surged in the second half of 2009 with the number of passengers passing through Brazil’s airports between July and November up by 27%. International traffic has also recovered with passenger numbers up in September, October and November.
Data from ANAC, which includes December, shows that domestic demand (as measured by revenue passenger kilometres – RPKs) for 2009 was up by 17.7%. The two leading airlines, TAM and GOL, saw demand increase by 6.5% and 14.9% respectively. The launch of Azul last December (which accounted for 3.8% of demand last year) and Webjet’s growth of 114% has helped increase the competition against the two main carriers.
In December 2009, TAM and GOL accounted for 85% of the domestic market, compared with over 91% in December 2008.
In October, for the first time over 11 million passengers passed through Brazil’s airports on domestic flights, beating the previous record set in July.
International traffic accounts for less than 10% of passengers at Brazil’s airports. New international services launched in the second half of 2009 include Delta from Los Angeles to São Paulo, Continental replacing its one-stop service to Rio de Janeiro with non-stop flights and US Airways starting Charlotte to Rio services in mid-December.