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Star Alliance could regain its leadership position in Latin America should it manage to add Avianca Brazil and Azul Airlines as full members.

Avianca Brazil was asked to join the Star Alliance in late 2013, and the airline is now scheduled to join the group on July 22. Star’s members are expected to give their final vote of approval for Avianca Brazil’s integration at their CEO meeting in Warsaw on June 22-24.

Meanwhile, talks are ongoing to have Azul joining Star.

“We continue to speak actively, but they have been extremely busy, with their international expansion, adding wide bodies to their fleet, the bid to buy part of  TAP Portugal and the Brazilian government’s proposal to start subsidizing regional services. How much can a leadership team handle?” Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab told Aviation Daily.

Star has a vacuum in Brazil, the largest market in Latin America, since TAM left and transitioned to Oneworld.

Star Alliance also continues exploring the idea of establishing, or re-establishing, a Star Alliance Regional arrangement that would offer regional airlines, operating a fleet of 10-30 aircraft some form of association with Star. “It’s a work in progress,” Schwab said. These small airlines could play an important role as feeder partners to Star Alliance members in certain parts of the globe and extent Star’s connectivity. But, said Schwab, “but the question is how to do this without a negative effect on the Star Alliance brand recognition. What are the minimum things to be offered from a customer point of view?”

Star in the past had a concept for regional airlines and had Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines and Blue1 as members. It gave up the strategy a couple of years ago.

article by Cathy Buyck – The Aviation Daily