Brazil has organised meetings with foreign airlines to try to persuade them to launch domestic flights there, Ronei Glanzmann, secretary for civil aviation at the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) Airline Leaders Forum in Brasilia on October 27.

“These are conversations to introduce Brazil to them, they do not mean that the airlines are saying that they will come here,” he said. “We are working first with [getting them to operate] international routes, but we are already working so that those operations will become domestic operations in the Brazilian market.”

According to Glanzmann, meetings with Volaris and JetBlue Airways were scheduled to take place during the conference on October 28 and he also named SKY Airline (Chile) as a potential interlocutor. However, SKY decided to cancel its participation at the event due to the continuing civil unrest in Chile.

The Brazilian business magazine Exame also named Ryanair, which it said the Bolsonaro administration would meet with at the Global Airport Development (GAD) conference in Dublin in November.

A representative for SKY declined to comment to Reuters on any meetings tabled with the Brazilian government, while jetBlue and Volaris did not respond to requests for comment.

The administration of President Jair Bolsonaro recently launched a drive to prise open the country's domestic aviation market to foreign airlines. The market is highly concentrated among three carriers, LATAM Airlines Brasil, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, and Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras. A fourth, Avianca Brasil, ceased operations in May after filing for bankruptcy in late 2018.

Three non-Brazilian LCCs, SKY, Norwegian, and Flybondi, have launched international operations to Brazil over the last year, but the high costs of operating there, such as value-added taxes on fuel that can be as high as 25%, have put airlines off the idea of domestic operations.