Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos (ITA), a new Brazilian airline, has completed one month since it suspended its services. On Tuesday one of its Airbus A320 left Brazil for the US, where it will be stored.
The aircraft took off from Galeão Airport, in Rio de Janeiro, at 12:36 pm, bound for Tocumen International Airport, in Panama, for a technical stopover for refueling. Just over an hour later, the A320 departed for Arizona, landing at 11:10 pm (local time) in Tucson.
The PS-ITA registration aircraft is the first of three A320s that will leave Brazil. The ITA claimed that the planes will undergo preventive maintenance, however, a letter from ANAC, the Brazilian civil aviation agency, revealed that the leased jet will be kept in the US for “storage”, as will another Airbus, registration PS-SFC that took off today from Brasilia.
Itapemirim debuted its domestic flights in July and had a fleet of seven second-hand Airbus planes, all leased. However, its flight network faced several difficulties during the less than six months in which it operated.
Failure to pay suppliers would have been the last straw to stop operations on December 17, on the eve of the end of the year holidays, leaving almost 50,000 passengers on the ground.
Despite the debts, Itapemirim promises to resume its operation, but for that it will have to obtain a new AOC from the Brazilian authorities.