Avianca Holdings' Chief Financial Officer, Gerardo Grajales, says there is scope for Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AD, Sao Paulo Viracopos) and Avianca Brasil (O6, Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont) to join the recently signed Joint Business Agreement (JBA) between Copa Airlines, United Airlines, and Avianca.

Speaking to Reuters last week, Grajales said the trio were actively looking at incorporating the Brazilian carriers into the JBA given the recently signed Open Skies agreement between Brazil and the United States.

"The two airlines complement each other in the Brazilian market," he said. "From the beginning, we thought that Brazil should be covered by our agreement. However, no partnership would be authorized if it did not have an Open Skies agreement."

In terms of existing relationships, Avianca Holdings' parent, Synergy Aerospace, acquired Oceanair (O6, Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont) in 2004 before rebranding it as Avianca Brasil. For its part, United owns an 8% stake in Azul and has a codeshare agreement with Avianca Brasil.

The United-Copa-Avianca JBA is only expected to kick in in from 2020 onwards given the regulatory gauntlet it must go through.