Azul's colorful livery stands out on the taxiway Photo: JOcchialini
Azul, Brazil's #3 airline is #1 in news these days. The airline, controlled by founder David Neeleman, also the founder of JetBlue, has just inked a major code-share agreement with United Airlines, whose presence in Brazil has been weak compared to its competitors.
United is also buying 5% of Azul's stock, taking a seat on the board, and strongly hinting it would just love to have Azul join Star Alliance. Neeleman just recently bought 61% of TAP Air Portugal, also a Star Alliance member. Brazil's #1 airline, TAM, left Star last year to join OneWorld, and #2 Gol has a 3% investment from Delta, a leading SkyTeam member.
United's Brazil connections have been the weakest of the U.S. majors. While the TAP deal led to some speculation about codeshares among JetBlue, Azul and TAP (especially given Azul's intent to add more U.S. cities) but this paints another set of possible scenarios. It could be an interesting future!