The main shareholders of the Colombian airline Avianca and the majority shareholder of the Brazilian airline GOL will create the leading air transport group in Latin America under a holding company structure called Abra Group Limited. Subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, Grupo Abra would control Avianca and GOL, bringing these iconic brands closer together under one holding company.
Through the recent investments made by the shareholders of Avianca and Viva, the group would also have 100% of the economic rights of Viva’s operations in Colombia and Peru, but it would not control it, and it would have a credit convertible into an investment representing a minority interest in the airline Sky Airline de Chile.
Together, Avianca and GOL will be the anchor of a network of Latin American airlines that will have the lowest unit costs in their respective markets, the leading loyalty programs throughout the region, and other complementary businesses. Avianca and GOL will maintain their brands, teams and culture independently, while benefiting from greater efficiencies and investments within common ownership.
Abra will provide a platform that will allow operating airlines to further reduce costs, achieve greater economies of scale, continue to operate a fleet of state-of-the-art aircraft and expand their routes, services, product offerings and loyalty programs.
Together, the airlines that will be part of the Abra Group could offer their customers the widest and most complementary network of routes with minimal overlap between markets. Abra’s financial strength will provide participating airlines with long-term stability and agility, thus promoting constant and sustained investment in innovation and synergies.
The Abra Group will be co-controlled by the main shareholders of Avianca and the majority shareholder of GOL, and will be led by a management team with extensive experience in aviation in the region, a long history of entrepreneurship and a proven record of success in growing and airline transformation.
Roberto Kriete, who will serve as Chairman of the Group’s Board of Directors, was the one who made TACA the leading airline in Central America in the 1980s, before merging with Avianca in 2009. He also founded, in 2006, Volaris, the Leading airline in the Mexican market.
Constantino de Oliveira Junior, who will serve as the CEO of the group, pioneered the low-cost airline revolution in Latin America when he founded GOL Airlines in 2001. Together with the acquisition of VRG in 2007 and Webjet in 2011, he led the company’s growth to a leading position in the market . Adrian Neuhauser, current president and CEO of Avianca, and Richard Lark, current CFO of GOL, will act as co-presidents of the group and will maintain their current positions in the airlines.
The Abra Group management team will focus on generating synergies that ensure the lowest cost structures for each airline in their corresponding markets; in expanding its network of routes, services, product offerings and loyalty programs; and in developing new and innovative products and services that respond to the current needs of passengers and cargo customers in the highly competitive Latin American air transport market.
In addition, Abra will strive to ensure that airlines are leaders in the implementation of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria.by having the strong governance and financial strength to continue investing in an aircraft fleet with a lower carbon footprint, which would accelerate the airline industry’s progress towards its carbon neutral goals.
Kriete indicated that “our vision is to create a group of airlines capable of facing the challenges of the 21st century and that improves the flying experience for our customers, employees, allies and communities where we operate. Our customers will benefit from having access to better fares, more destinations, more flight frequencies, more convenient connections, and the ability to earn and use points through airline loyalty programs. In addition, they will be able to enjoy better benefits and access to superior products and services.”
For his part, the CEO of the group mentioned that “this agreement places Abra airlines in a leadership position in the region’s air transport market, by being able to serve a population of more than 1,000 million people and a GDP close to three trillion US dollars, generating opportunities for growth in capacity and income. Our particular and unique company structure will allow each airline to pursue its results while maintaining the independence of its brands, talent, team and culture; and, it will provide employees with more opportunities for personal and professional growth at every stage of their careers.”