Amid an environment of uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, the commercial aviation market in Brazil is going through a serious crisis, with companies succumbing and others asking for bankruptcy. But even in this scenario, there are those who see it as a good time to launch a new airline. That’s what Nella Linhas Aéreas intends in 2021.
Founded by a Brazilian group formed by a holding company in Panama and investment funds, the new regional airline is preparing the documents to apply for registration with the Brazilian civil aviation authorities, but claims to have already arranged for the purchase of four ATR 42 aircraft. that will be used on the first routes.
Despite barely publicizing her plans, Nella has already been rumored to be a scam because she was the target of hackers who used the company’s name to capture data from people interested in job openings. In an interview with Airway, Mauricio Souza, the company’s CEO, regretted the episode: “Nella never asked anyone to fill out job vacancies anywhere,” he said.
The Brazilian businessman, who lives in the USA, revealed that the new company will have its main hub in Brasilia, the federal capital of Brazil, but that the plans foresee three other hubs in the North, Northeast and Midwest regions of the country, precisely the poorest and lacking air routes.
Although recognizing that the Brazilian market is complicated, Souza guarantees that Nella’s strategy should avoid large companies. “Our focus is to serve where no one serves, cities with 70,000, 100,000 inhabitants and that today have few or no flights”, he explains.
The investor sees a good moment for commercial aviation in Brazil due to the concessions of the largest airports to the private sector that, in his view, “have made our work much easier” – the airport in Brasilia, for example, is managed by the company Inframerica after decades being operated by the state-owned Infraero.
Maurício was surprised and disappointed that his project was the victim of Internet scams that used the company’s name to advertise job vacancies that have not yet been created. “Unfortunately, Brazil is a very difficult country. They made more than 20 ‘mirror pages’ asking to register the data and steal people’s information”. To resolve the situation, the company provided an email to send resumes. “We received 8,000 resumes from highly trained people and we are separating everything by regions where we are going to operate and we will certainly select part of them”.
To prepare for its debut, Nella formed a team with professionals brought in from other companies. The goal is for flights to begin with ATR 42-300 aircraft that are currently in the US and Canada, but in the medium term the plan is to lease four ATR 72, with greater capacity, which will be distributed by the company’s hubs.
The company’s CEO said he plans to enter into agreements with larger airlines in order to feed their airline networks. “I do want to have a code share with these companies and take passengers to cities they don’t serve,” he says.
“Our main focus is to lower the ticket price to the extreme, offering not only the low cost but also the low fare,” he said. In order to keep its operation at a low cost level, Nella must acquire the ATR 42 instead of leasing them. The airline also received a capital injection from foreign funds, but Mauricio guarantees that the company is 100% Brazilian.
“I see the difficulties (of the Brazilian market) that are massive, but I see an opportunity as an entrepreneur. I saw the possibility of being an attractive market, financially speaking, however, a needy market that could be improved. With all that is happening in the Brazil, company closing, I decided ‘now it’s time to launch the company’. ‘But what about the crisis?’, I said ‘the crisis will exist as long as entrepreneurs are holding money’ .”