SAO PAULO, Brazil, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Brazilian businessman German Efromovich, owner of Brazilian airline OceanAir and recent buyer of Colombia's Avianca, is setting up a regional carrier in Peru with businessman Pedro Koechlin, OceanAir said on Monday.
The Brazilian carrier said in a statement it would announce the venture with the Peruvian businessman at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.

A press spokesman for OceanAir declined further details on the deal. Koechlin was not available for comment in Peru.

Efromovich's Synergy group made its money through the Maritima oil prospecting and services business but has branched into the airline business in recent years. OceanAir was set up in 1998 to ferry oil executives to the coast but the carrier has since grown to cover some 30 destinations across Brazil.

The executive took another step into the airline sector in November when Avianca's creditors and a New York bankruptcy court approved his bid and restructuring plan for the airline.

Peru's airline sector is dominated by LanPeru, a unit of Chile's LAN Airlines (LAN.SN: Quote, Profile, Research) (LFL.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , which operates 11 national and 11 international routes with a fleet of seven Airbus 320 planes.

The former market leader was Nuevo Continente -- which changed its name earlier this year from Aero Continente, but the Peruvian government grounded the airline for safety reasons in October, effectively putting it out of business.

Nuevo Continente had been struggling since June when Washington branded its founder, Fernando Zevallos, an international drug "kingpin" and slapped it with sanctions.

Zevallos denies the charges but the sanctions prevented the airline from getting spare parts, forcing it to cut flights.

LanPeru says it now controls 70 percent of the Peruvian market. Peru has a handful of other, smaller airlines including Magenta, Aerocondor and the state-owned Tans Peru.

"The entry of a new airline is very healthy. Competition is welcome," said a LanPeru spokeswoman who declined to be named. (Additional reporting by Jude Webber in Lima)


Source: Reuters