Norwegian Air has been cleared to operate to Brazil and plans to launch flights from London Gatwick to Sao Paulo next year.

Low-cost long-haul carrier Norwegian won clearance from Brazil’s civil aviation authority ANAC this week but has yet to receive a Brazilian air operator’s certificate.

A spokesman for the airline confirmed: “Norwegian Air has been granted permission by the Brazilian authorities to fly between Brazil and the UK.”

He said: “Air travel between Brazil and the UK is characterised by low competition and high prices. Norwegian Air intends to reverse that.”

The carrier is also considering flying between London and Rio de Janeiro.

Norwegian launched flights between the UK and Argentina in February, operating from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires, after obtaining an Argentinian air operator’s certificate.

However, it postponed plans to operate Argentinian domestic flights in April because of delays to the supply of engines for its Boeing fleet. The decision to postpone the launch coincided with an economic downturn in Argentina.

The carrier also postponed plans to launch flights to Canada which had been due to launch in July. These are not now due to start until next year.

Separately, IAG chief executive Willie Walsh announced the group had ended its interest in acquiring Norwegian.

IAG acquired a 4.6% stake in Norwegian earlier this year and confirmed it made two bids for the airline but had been rebuffed.

Walsh said IAG would now dispose of its stake in the airline. He said: “We’re not going to keep the shares, we’re not an investor.

“We bought the small stake to initiate a conversation. If that is not going anywhere, as it’s not, we’re not going to hold on to those shares.”

IAG is the owner of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and new low-cost carrier LEVEL.

Norwegian’s share value rose sharply amid IAG’s interest after slumping on concerns it has been haemorrhaging cash.

However, the carrier said it had received several other expressions of interest.

Norwegian announced a profit of €31 million for the three months to June, a turnaround from a €72 million loss in the same quarter last year as passenger numbers rose 16% year on year.