Brazil's civil aviation authority on Thursday permanently stripped former flagship airline Varig of 119 domestic flights that were not being used by the company.
Brazil's National Agency of Civil Aviation, or ANAC, said in a statement that Varig had only been operating 151 of its 270 allowed flights since ANAC gave the new owners of Varig a full certificate to operate on Dec. 14.
According to aviation rules, a company loses the right to operate a domestic route if it hasn't been flown for 30 days, the statement said.
ANAC said it will redistribute the flights to other operators. Varig had not been flying the routes for some time but a court order had stopped ANAC from redistributing the routes before December.
The news was a blow to the plans of Varig's new owners, who hoped to quadruple the airline's share of the domestic market to 20 percent by the end of 2007.
Varig was Brazil's leading airline for many years, but its operations disintegrated in 2005 and early 2006 amid enormous debts. In July 2006, VarigLog, which is owned by a group of investors, including U.S. investment fund Matlin Patterson, bought the company's operating assets for US$24 million (euro18 million) and sharply cut back the number of staff and flights offered.
The company had planned to increase the number of planes in operation to 15 from 10 in January.