Brazilian start-up airline Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos, ITA, which made its first flight in early 2021, announced a temporary suspension of its operations. 

The suspension came into effect on the night of December 17, 2021.  

In a statement on the airline’s website, ITA's parent company Itapemirim Group says the subsidiary’s operations have been temporarily suspended “for an internal restructuring” and that the decision was made “due to the need for operational adjustments”. 

“ITA regrets the inconvenience caused and states that it will continue to provide all assistance to impacted passengers, in compliance with the rules of ANAC Resolution 400.”

“The company will dedicate the maximum effort to soon resume its flights.”

In response to the news, the Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority, the Agencia National de Aviacao Civil (ANAC), suspended ITA’s Air Operator’s Certification, the authority announced on December 17, 2021.  

The authority confirmed that it was informed about interruptions to the airline’s operations due to internal restructuring. 

“The Agency determined that the airline must immediately provide full service to all passengers and communicate, individually, on flight cancellations and re-accommodations, as well as guaranteeing the reimbursement of air tickets sold, complying with the rules of ANAC Resolution 400, of 2016.”

The authority said passenger re-accommodation was the airline’s responsibility and passengers were to contact Itapemirim for relocations. 

Passengers who had planned flights with the air carrier were advised not to go to airports. 

“The Agency will continue to monitor the situation and will adopt the appropriate administrative measures in case of non-compliance with air transport rules,” ANAC’s follow-up statement on December 18, 2021, reads. 

News about ITA's suspended operations appears to have taken its passengers by surprise. Several news outlets in Brazil reported confusion among passengers who discovered the news while already waiting to board the aircraft.

Established in 2020, ITA began ticket sales in May 2021 and made its first scheduled passenger flight in June 2021. By December 2021, the airline had seven leased aircraft, Airbus A319 and A320, planespotters.net data shows. ITA is a subsidiary of a Brazilian passenger road transport company Itapemirim Group.