Brazilian airline GOL and Colombian compatriot Avianca are combining operations under a single holding company structure, called Abra Group.

The two airlines will, however, retain their respective brands and talent.

Abra Group will be jointly controlled by Avianca’s principal shareholders and GOL’s majority shareholder. These shareholders have signed an agreement to enable the merger. 

The combination will create a pan-Latin American airline giant, which will also have a non-controlling, 100% economic interest in Viva, a low-cost carrier operating in Colombia and Peru with whom Avianca recently agreed to merge.

Furthermore, Abra Group will also have a minority stake in Chilean carrier Sky Airline.

Carriers owned by the Abra Group are said to provide the largest network of complementary routes with minimal overlapping between themselves.

The consolidation is also aimed at offering the lowest cost structure in each airline’s market, in addition to expanding services, routes and loyalty programmes.

The airlines under Abra Group are also said to be ‘ESG market leaders’ in furthering carbon neutrality goals in the aviation sector.

In a statement, the Colombian carrier said: “Together, Avianca and GOL will anchor a pan-Latin American network of airlines that will have the lowest unit cost in their respective markets, the leading loyalty programme across the region, and other synergistic businesses.”

Constantino de Oliveira Junior will lead Abra Group as its CEO, while Roberto Kriete will become its chairman.

Avianca’s existing president and CEO Adrian Neuhauser along with existing GOL CFO Richard Lark will be the group’s co-presidents, in addition to retaining their existing positions.

Kriete noted: “Our customers will benefit from access to even better fares, more destinations, more frequent flights and seamless connections, and the ability to earn and use points across the brands’ loyalty programmes.”