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JetBlue founder and chairman Neeleman proposes new air carrier in Brazil

JetBlue founder and chairman Neeleman proposes new air carrier in Brazil

JetBlue Airways founder and chairman David Neeleman is looking to join the ranks of those offering air service in Latin America's biggest country, Brazil's Civil Aeronautics Agency said Wednesday.
Neeleman met with aviation director Solange Paiva Vieira in Brasilia to discuss the possibility of launching a new domestic airline, according to a spokeswoman for the agency, known as ANAC for its initials in Portuguese.
"Mr. Neeleman came to express his interest in operating in Brazil, but he did not make a formal proposal nor did he say when he planned to conclude his project," said the spokeswoman, who is not authorized to be quoted by name.
Bryan Baldwin, a spokesman for JetBlue of Forest Hills, New York, said the airline would have no comment.
Though Brazilian media have reported in recent weeks that Neeleman was interested in launching an airline, he has not made any public comments on his plans.
The O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported earlier this month that Neeleman had lined up about US$200 million (euro135 million) in investments and planned to buy 36 mid-range jets from Brazilian airplane manufacturer Embraer.
JetBlue, a low-cost operator, flies planes made by Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA, which specializes in passenger jets for short- and medium-range routes.
The ANAC spokeswoman said Neeleman was born in Brazil and is therefore a citizen _ meaning he would not be affected by a law requiring that no more than 20 percent of Brazilian airlines be owned by foreign individuals or companies.
The entry of a new airline in Brazil would be the first major competition in years for local market leaders TAM Linhas Aereas SA and Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA, following the collapse of Brazil's former flagship carrier Varig under massive debt.


Updated : 2021-06-15 01:33 GMT+08:00