SAO PAULO, June 24 (Reuters) - Brazil's civil aviation regulator will take back grounded airline Avianca Brasil's slots in Sao Paulo's coveted domestic airport as part of a plan to redistribute them later, according to a decision published in the government's official gazette on Monday.
Avianca Brasil filed for bankruptcy in December and saw its operations progressively diminish until they were suspended in late May.
The airline was Brazil's No. 4 carrier and had planned to auction its airport rights, known as slots, on July 10, in hopes of raising at least $140 million. But without the Sao Paulo slots, which represent the most lucrative portion of all the airline's slots, it is unclear whether the auction will still take place.
A representative for Avianca Brasil did not have immediate comment.
Brazil's top three airlines, Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes , LATAM Airlines Group and Azul SA, had all expressed interest in the slots, and spent millions in efforts to secure them.
Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun Editing by Susan Thomas