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VARIG (acronym for Viação Aérea RIo-Grandense) was the first airline founded in Brazil, in 1927. From 1965 until 1990 it was Brazil's leading and almost only international airline. In 2005, Varig went into judicial reorganisation (similar to the American concept of bankruptcy protection) and in 2006 it was split into two companies informally known as "old" Varig - heir to the original airline, and "new" Varig - a new company presently fully integrated into Gol Airlines.



Formation and Early Years (1927–1943)

Sociedade Anônima Empresa de Viação Aérea Rio-Grandense – VARIG was the first national airline established in Brazil. It was founded on May 7, 1927 in Porto Alegre by Otto Ernst Meyer-Labastille, a German aviator decorated in the World War I, who immigrated to Brazil in 1921 and noticed how necessary air transportation was for a large country like Brazil. Varig was an off-spring of the German trade company and airline Condor Syndikat, thus sharing the same origin as Syndicato Condor, later renamed Serviços Aéreos Cruzeiro do Sul. Condor Syndikat gave the initial operational and financial support and for a short time Varig and the sister-company Syndicato Condor operated in partnership.

The first aircraft of VARIG was a ten-passenger Dornier Do J Wal flying boat, transferred from the assets of Condor Syndikat. This aircraft, named Atlântico, was also the first aircraft registered in Brazil as P-BAAA. Operations started on June 22, 1927 with a flight from Porto Alegre to Rio Grande via Pelotas. Varig inherited the route rights from Condor Syndikat which since February 22, 1927 had operated the service.[1]

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