LATAM widens lead in Brazil’s airline market in 2023

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – LATAM Airlines widened its advantage last year as the market leader among companies flying domestically and internationally in Brazil, data from Brazilian regulator Anac showed on Monday.

Chile-based LATAM has been leading the domestic segment in Latin America’s largest economy since 2021, when it overtook local rival Gol.

LATAM closed 2023 with a domestic market share of 37.8% as defined by revenue passenger kilometers, which measures traffic. That was followed by Gol with 33.3% and Brazilian firm Azul with 28.4%, according to data from Anac, which regulates the airline sector in the country.

LATAM’s lead over Gol rose to a 4.45 percentage points in 2023, up from 2.76 percentage points the previous year.

Late in 2022, LATAM came out of pandemic-related bankruptcy proceedings with an $8 billion reorganization plan. Gol and Azul also have struggled financially in recent years, with the latter concluding a broader restructuring in 2023.

The data also comes as Gol’s finances are in the spotlight, with a local media outlet reporting earlier in January that the company was considering filing for bankruptcy protection in the United States within the next month, causing the carrier’s shares to tumble more than 10% since the report’s publication.

Gol, which had already concluded a debt reshuffle in 2023, said last week it was analyzing a “consensual” restructuring with financial stakeholders, adding it did not yet have a framework for how it would be implemented.

LATAM also increased its lead in international flights in Brazil last year, Anac data showed, with a 18.2% market share compared to 16.2% in 2022. Portuguese airline TAP remained in second position, with its share slipping to 10.6% from 11.4%.

(Reporting by Andre Romani; additional reporting by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Aurora Ellis)