Three more foreign airlines are in talks with the Brazilian government to launch domestic operations, Brazil’s infrastructure minister Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas has said at a press conference without naming them.

“These companies are publicly traded, there are competition issues between them. We cannot announce them yet,” he said, according to Reuters.

The first foreign carrier to be granted preliminary authorisation to set up a domestic subsidiary in the lucrative Brazilian market was Spain’s Air Europa (UX, Palma de Mallorca), which is expected to start domestic flights in late 2019, Gomes de Freitas said.

Air Europa applied to operate flights within Brazil on May 24, two days after the Senate vote. It currently has three routes to Brazil from Madrid Barajas, to São Paulo Guarulhos (seven weekly frequencies), Recife, and Salvador (three each), according to ch-aviation capacities.

Following the Senate's decision on May 22 to allow non-Brazilian carriers to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries in the country, Minister of Tourism Marcelo Álvaro Antônio commented in a televised Q&A Whatsapp session that the government's overall aim was to have between five and eight "large airlines" servicing the domestic market.

The liberalisation of Latin America’s biggest air market is taking place after years of debate but still needs to be signed into law by President Jair Bolsonaro. The market is dominated by three airline groups controlling 92% of flights, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, LATAM Airlines Group, and Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, according to the Brazilian civil aviation authority (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil - ANAC).

The fate of Avianca Brasil, the country's fourth-biggest airline, is expected to be decided at a hearing in a São Paulo State Court on June 17. ANAC forced the heavily indebted carrier to suspend flight operations in late May.