Second Brazilian airline pledges cap on World Cup airfare

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 14, 2014 2:16 PM

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Avianca Brasil became the second Brazilian airline to cap the cost of traveling during this year's World Cup on Tuesday, putting more pressure on the country's two biggest carriers to do the same.

Avianca will not charge more than 999 reais ($420) for domestic flights from February to July, Chief Executive José Efromovich told reporters, the same ceiling that rival airline Azul pledged for the event in June and July.

Brazilian cities will play host to the World Cup of soccer from mid-June to mid-July.

Aviation regulator ANAC applauded Azul's decision last week, encouraging other airlines to follow suit.

Gol Linhas Aereas and TAM, the local unit of Chile's Latam Airlines Group, came under fire last year when the government noticed ticket prices soaring during the World Cup.

Some of that tension could ease starting on Wednesday, when ANAC is expected to authorize about 1,500 new domestic flights for the World Cup, expanding travel options between cities hosting games, which should provide some relief for prices.

Avianca requested 430 of those additional routes, Efromovich said on Tuesday, part of the airline's plans to expand its Brazilian network by 19 percent this year. Still, he said the expected dropoff in business travel during the World Cup would weigh on revenue during the tournament.

(Reporting by Roberta Vilas Boas; Editing by Peter Galloway)