The Brazilian aviation market was surprised on Tuesday with the announcement that the airline Azul Linhas Aéreas has signed an agreement to buy regional airline TwoFlex. Although it is a small company that operates low-demand routes with Cessna Caravan turboprop, TwoFlex has 14 valuable slots at Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport.

More crucial is the fact that the regional airline has been a partner of Azul’s rival Gol Linhas Aéreas. In recent months, both companies have announced shared flights to various destinations in Brazil. Like VoePass, another regional airline, TwoFlex seemed increasingly close to being taken over by Gol in light of their close relationship and the fact that the airline does not operate turboprops, unlike Azul.

In a recent statement, Gol CEO Paulo Sergio Kakinoff reinforced the strategy of operating shared flights with small regionals, but with Azul’s advance this situation will be complicated.

Founded in 2013, TwoFlex started as an air taxi, but began offering regular passenger service a few years ago and today serves 39 destinations in Brazil, of which only three regional cities are served equally by Azul. Its fleet consists of 17 own Cessna Caravan aircraft with a capacity of nine passengers.

“Over the past ten years, Azul has led the development of regional aviation in Brazil, serving more than 100 domestic destinations and bringing new services to over 50. Our goal is to continue bringing air service to new and diverse parts of Brazil. Cessna Caravan aircraft will be the best way to reach smaller cities and communities,” said John Rodgerson, Azul’s CEO.

“We have built a great business in regional aviation in recent years, connecting smaller cities to major capitals across the country. I look forward to connecting our regional network to Azul’s domestic and international network,” said Rui Aquino, CEO of TwoFlex who, with his partner Luiz Eduardo Falco, were key executives of the TAM airline before being merged with Lan Chile to form the current LATAM.

Azul noted that the proposal still depends on audits, negotiation of a purchase agreement and approval by regulatory authorities.

Of the major Brazilian airlines, Azul is the only one to operate turboprop aircraft (Rafael Luiz Canossa/Wikimedia)