Avianca Brazil is now the newest member of the Star Alliance family after Star's 27 other member airlines voted to approve the Brazilian airline's seat at the table in Warsaw last month.
Joining its Colombian-based sibling Avianca, Avianca Brazil will help fill the hole created in the South American market when Brazil's TAM merged with Chilean airline LAN to create LATAM, and left Star Alliance for Oneworld, which also counts Qantas among its members.
Primarily a domestic airline, Avianca Brazil flies to some 20 cities in the country plus the Colombian capital of Bogota.
The Avianca group comprises a clutch of South American airlines and is the continent's second-largest airline after LATAM. "We're delighted they will be joining the team, Avianca Brazil will be a great add to the alliance" Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab told Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of the Warsaw conference.
"TAM leaving left a gap, so we need a second carrier to replace TAM" Schwab says. "We do need to fill out the capacity."
Frequent flyers with Star Alliance Gold status can now enjoy lounge access, priority check-in and boarding when flying with Avianca Brazil, while all Star Alliance frequent flyers can earn and redeem points on Avianca Brazil flights.
Star Alliance is also in ongoing discussions with Brazil's Azul Airlines, to further bolster its position against Oneworld, with Schwab describing this as "a kind of watch-this-space story."
David Flynn travelled to Warsaw as a guest of Star Alliance.
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