RIO DE JANEIRO / SAO PAULO – Brazilian state development bank BNDES said on Friday that the country’s three major airlines had received a $ 680 million aid package, but operators said they were still discussing the terms.
Brazilian airlines asked for help because the COVID-19 pandemic damaged the travel industry, but negotiations were deadlocked for more than a month until an official proposal was issued by the Brazilian government this week.
“What we can say is true: We sent proposals to the airline this week and yesterday they all accepted,” BNDES President Gustavo Montezano told reporters on Friday.
However, airlines Azul SA, LATAM Airlines Group and Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes denied that they had accepted the proposal and said that they were still negotiating.
“LATAM Airlines Brazil confirms they are interested in the BNDES proposal,” the company said in a statement. “However, negotiations continue.”
Gol said the regulatory requirements would be subject to negotiations “throughout the coming weeks.”
The latest government offer is a total of 4 billion reais ($ 683 million) and is a mix of state loans through BNDES, loans from private banks and funds raised in the capital market.
Three Brazilian airlines said in the past that they were interested but they strongly refused to accept the conditions because BNDES asked for a potential stake in the company.
Azul expressed disappointment on Thursday on the size of the rescue package, after initial reports that it would be twice as large.
However, airlines agree that they want to benefit from assistance. Azul said he had enough cash to run for one year under the current scenario, while Gol said it could run for 10 months.
The airline has cut capacity by more than 90% in Brazil and has made tens of thousands of unpaid leave workers to save money.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro and Marcelo Rochabrun in Sao Paulo; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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