On December 17, Brazilian low-cost carrier Gol will bring Manaus service back to Miami International Airport (MIA) with two weekly flights, giving MIA a total of five nonstop destinations in Brazil: Brasilia; Fortaleza; Manaus; Rio de Janeiro; and Sao Paulo.
Top Copyright Photo: Gol Transportes Aereos Boeing 737-8EH WL PR-GGR (msn 36150) GRU (Rodrigo Cozzato). Image: 959644.
Boeing has announced the milestone delivery of the 100th contracted 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) to the world’s largest lessor, AerCap. The 100th 737-800BCF was converted at Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services Co. Ltd., (BSAS), home to the first 737-800BCF conversion line.
AerCap Cargo has leased the aircraft to GOL Linhas Aéreas, as part of the growth strategy and logistics solution of GOLLOG, GOL´s logistics business unit. GOL will operate the freighter for a Latin American e-commerce company.
In 2016, AerCap Cargo was the launch customer for Boeing’s 737-800BCF program. Today, AerCap Cargo has the largest fleet of 737-800BCFs with 65 firm orders and nine options.
Since program launch, BSAS has added a second conversion line for the 737-800BCF. It is now one of five global sites in three countries with 737-800BCF conversion capacity.
With up to 20% lower fuel use and CO2 emissions per tonne, 737-800BCF operators are carrying more payload with less fuel. The in-service 737-800BCF fleet has already logged more than 70,000 flights, with average utilization of 7 hours per day, more than double the typical utilization of older generation freighters in the same size category.
The 737-800BCF is the market leader with more than 250 orders and commitments from over 20 customers.
AerCap Holdings N.V. today announced it has signed lease agreements with Gol for the lease of six 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter aircraft, three of which are scheduled to deliver to Gol in 2022, with the remaining three delivering in 2023.
The six 737-800BCF, passenger-to-freighter aircraft, will be operated for a Latin-American e-commerce company, as part of the growth strategy and logistics solution of GOLLOG, GOL´s Logistics Business Unit, and will be based in Brazil, flying to destinations across South America.
Miami International Airport (MIA) made this announcement:
Brazilian low-cost carrier makes first U.S. return since the pandemic.
On May 17, Brazilian low-cost carrier GOL resumed service at Miami International Airport for the first time since the pandemic with the first of four weekly flights to Brasilia. GOL is using 176-seat Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for the new service, which will increase to daily service starting on July 4.
GOL is currently the only airline at MIA with service to Brazil’s capital city, and Miami and Orlando are GOL’s only U.S. destinations.
GOL last operated at MIA in early 2020 with service to Brasilia and Fortaleza.
Founded in 2001, GOL operates approximately 700 flights per day with a fleet of 142 Boeing 737 aircraft. The Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Awards named GOL’s Premium Economy class the best premium economy in Latin America in 2020.
Before the pandemic, Brazil was MIA’s second-busiest international market, with 1.5 million passengers in 2019. American Airlines and LATAM Airlines provide Miami-Sao Paulo service, while American alone serves the Miami-Rio de Janeiro route. GOL is also scheduled to resume Miami-Manaus service on June 4, which will give MIA a total of four Brazilian routes.
The principal shareholders of Colombia’s Avianca and the controlling shareholder of Brazil’s GOL have signed a landmark agreement to create a leading air transportation group across Latin America under a holding company structure named Abra Group Limited. Subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, the Abra Group will control Avianca and GOL and bring together their iconic brands under a single holding.
Through recent investments made by Avianca’s and Viva’s shareholders, the Group will also own a non-controlling 100% economic interest in Viva’s operations in Colombia and Peru as well as convertible debt representing a minority interest investment in Chile’s Sky Airline.
Together, Avianca and GOL will anchor a pan-Latin American network of airlines that will have the lowest unit cost in their respective markets, the leading loyalty programs across the region, and other synergistic businesses. Avianca and GOL will continue to maintain independent brands, talent, teams, and culture while benefiting from greater efficiencies and investments under common aligned ownership.
Abra will provide a platform for the operating airlines to further reduce costs, achieve greater economies of scale, continue to operate a state-of-the-art fleet of aircraft, and expand their routes, services, product offerings, and loyalty programs.
In the aggregate, the airlines under the Abra Group ownership will offer customers the largest network of complementary routes, with minimal overlap, across their markets.
Abra’s financial strength will provide long-term stability and agility to the participating airlines that will allow consistent and sustained investment in innovations and synergies.
Abra Group will be co-controlled by the principal shareholders of Avianca and the majority shareholder of GOL and be led by management with significant airline experience across the region, a long history of entrepreneurship, and a proven track record of growth and successful airline transformations.
Roberto Kriete, who will serve as the group’s Chairman, grew TACA in the 1980s into the leading Central American airline before merging it with Colombia’s Avianca Airlines in 2009. He also founded the leading Mexican carrier Volaris in 2006.
Constantino de Oliveira Junior, who will serve as the group’s CEO, pioneered Latin America’s low-cost carrier revolution when he founded GOL Airlines in 2001. Together with the acquisition of VRG in 2007 and Webjet in 2011, he led the company’s growth to a market-leading position.
Adrian Neuhauser, current President and CEO of Avianca, and Richard Lark, current CFO of GOL, will serve as the group’s Co-Presidents, in addition to maintaining their current roles at the airlines; further details on the Abra management team will be provided at closing.
Abra Group’s management will focus on achieving synergies to ensure the lowest cost structure in each carrier’s relevant market; expanding routes, services, product offerings, and loyalty programs; and developing innovative new products and services that will meet the evolving needs of passengers and air cargo customers in the highly competitive Latin American air transportation market and beyond.
Abra will also ensure that its operating airlines are ESG market leaders by providing enhanced governance as well as the financial strength to continue to invest in a lower carbon footprint fleet, which will significantly accelerate the airline industry’s path towards meeting carbon neutrality targets.
Roberto Kriete, Abra Group’s Chairman, said: “Our vision is to create an airline group that tackles 21st century issues and improves air travel for our customers, employees, and partners as well as the communities in which we operate. Our customers will benefit from access to even better fares, more destinations, more frequent flights and seamless connections, and the ability to earn and use points across the brands’ loyalty programs. They will also be able to enjoy enhanced travel benefits and access to superior products and services.”
Constantino de Oliveira Junior, Abra Group’s CEO, said: “This agreement places Abra’s airlines in a position to lead air travel within the region – serving a population of over one billion and GDP of nearly three trillion US dollars – providing significant opportunities for capacity and revenue growth. Our unique enterprise structure will allow each airline to drive results by maintaining their independent brands, talent, teams, and culture and will provide employees more opportunities for personal and professional growth at every stage of their careers.”
In related news, the majority shareholders of Viva and Avianca jointly announced that Viva will become part of the same holding company as Avianca Group International Limited (Avianca Group) and that Declan Ryan, founding partner of Viva, will join the board of directors of Avianca Group, bringing his decades of aviation experience.
Any transfer of control rights over Viva’s operations in Colombia and Peru by the new holding company will be subject to requesting and obtaining all necessary regulatory authorizations.
Until the receipt of necessary authorizations, control and administration of Viva in Colombia and Peru will be independent of Avianca; Viva will continue to compete with the other airlines within the Avianca Group. Until the authorizations are obtained, customers, suppliers, employees, and relationships for the companies will remain the same; with separate internal and external operations, as well as independent sales channels and customer service teams.
American Airlines has announced it has signed a definitive investment agreement with Gol, Brazil’s largest airline, deepening the relationship between the two carriers to create the broadest and most rewarding network in the Americas. The combined networks will provide customers with more than 30 destinations in the U.S. served by American and more than 34 new destinations in South America served by Gol.
American has served Latin America since 1942 and offers service to 17 destinations in South America, including Sao Paulo (GRU) and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) in Brazil, from its U.S. hubs in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Miami (MIA) and New York (JFK). American has flown more than 14 million customers between the U.S. and Brazil in the last 10 years — more than twice as many as any other U.S. carrier. Gol serves 63 destinations in Brazil and is the country’s largest airline.
As part of the investment agreement previously announced last year, American will invest $200 million in 22.2 million newly issued preferred shares of Gol in a capital increase, for a 5.2% participation in the company’s economic interest. The execution of the other agreements described in this press release, and the closing of the equity investment, are subject to certain conditions, including government and regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Enhanced Joint Loyalty Offering
The largest network in the Americas will also be the most rewarding for travelers. In 2022, GOL’s SMILES and American’s AAdvantage® loyalty members will gain access to their status benefits on both airlines, such as priority check-in, priority security, priority boarding, a larger checked baggage allowance, lounge access and preferred seats. The two airlines also expect to offer an enhanced joint loyalty offering to give customers more ways to earn and redeem miles.
Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A. , Brazil’s largest domestic airline, has closed a financing of up to US $600 million with Castlelake LP to finance the acquisition of new 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
The transaction will comprise 10 finance leases and two sale-leasebacks. The interest rate for the finance leases is approximately 6% p.a., which represents a reduction when compared to operating lease costs of existing aircraft in the fleet. The funds originated by the transaction will cover 100% of the acquisition cost of the new aircraft and provide resources that will be directed to obligations and return costs on GOL’s 737 NG aircraft. The Company expects to return up to 18 737 NG aircraft in 2022 and a total of 34 NG aircraft by year-end 2025, which is expected to further reduce unit costs.
Delivery of these additional 12 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft begins in January 2022, in line with GOL’s plan to accelerate the transformation of its fleet and have half of its aircraft under finance leases by 2026. In 3Q21, the Company signed agreements for 26 additional MAX 8 aircraft, and currently has a total of 102 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to be delivered.
“Accelerating our fleet transformation to the 737 MAX positions us more competitively for growth through greater flexibility in our capacity management and enables the expansion of routes and destinations, which will ensure we are highly efficient at meeting fluctuations in travel demand,” said Celso Ferrer, COO. “Furthermore, adding these new aircraft will reduce the average age of GOL’s fleet from 11 to seven years.”
The Boeing MAX is also a key component in the Company’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, as this aircraft consumes 15% less fuel, produces 16% fewer carbon emissions and 40% less noise, and has a greater flight range than the NG aircraft.
GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A., Brazil’s largest airline, in conjunction with Grupo Comporte, an entity of its controlling shareholder, announce that they have signed a non-binding letter of intent with Avolon for the acquisition and/or lease of 250 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Following aircraft certification and successful delivery of the aircraft, the Company expects to start operating a flight network in Brazil using eVTOL planes by mid-2025.
Grupo Comporte is providing the investment capital required for the project, and will engage GOL’s aviation expertise to develop the flight network using VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft. Created by the British enterprise Vertical Aerospace (“Vertical”), the VA-X4 eVTOL model is considered one of the most technologically advanced and reliable air taxis in development today.
The agreement with Avolon and Grupo Comporte is also part of GOL’s commercial strategy to invest strategically in the regional air transportation market, opening up new routes to underserved domestic markets. It follows an announcement in June 2021 that GOL acquired MAP Transportes Aéreos, Brazil’s fifth largest domestic airline, with a fleet of 70-seat ATRs that operate on routes in the Amazon region from the Manaus Airport and Brazil’s South and Southeast regions from Congonhas, the country’s largest domestic airport.
A new fleet for a new era of air travel and more connectivity.
GOL currently operates a fleet of 127 Boeing 737 aircraft and pre-pandemic transported over 37 million passengers per year. The Company plans to transition 75% of its fleet to the more efficient 737-MAX aircraft by 2030, which reduce carbon emissions by 16%. Together, the adoption of the Boeing MAX, eVTOL aircraft, and other innovations including the use of biofuels, will form key components in GOL’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The VA-X4 can carry up to four passengers and one pilot, with a range of 160 km (100 miles) and a maximum speed of 320 km/h (200 mph). The eVTOL aircraft also produces 100 times less noise than a cruising helicopter, and 30 times less on takeoff and landing. Vertical used the know-how of renowned and experienced partners and suppliers in aerospace manufacturing, including Honeywell, Microsoft, Rolls-Royce and Solvay, to develop advanced flight controls, information technology, electric engines, and state-of-the-art industrial technology in its VA-X4 aircraft.
The first step of the new partnership is to carry out a feasibility study, including aircraft certification and analysis of the infrastructure needed to operate this aircraft with ANAC (National Civil Aviation Agency), DECEA (Department of Airspace Control), and other national and international aeronautical authorities. Avolon expects to complete the certification process for the VA-X4 in Brazil by 2024, with the Company beginning commercial flights with the eVTOL as part of its route network in mid-2025.
American Airlines and Gol have made this announcement:
Carriers have entered into an exclusive codeshare agreement that will deepen their partnership and strengthen the largest network between the U.S. and Brazil.
American’s AAdvantage and GOL’s SMILES loyalty programs will create the largest joint frequent flyer program in the Americas with enhanced benefits coming in 2022.
Increased commercial cooperation will drive sustainable growth, including more flights to more destinations for both airlines.
American Airlines has announced that it has entered into a letter of intent to further solidify its partnership with GOL, Brazil’s largest airline. Building on the two carriers’ initial codeshare offering in 2020, the expanded partnership includes an exclusive codeshare agreement, a larger and more lucrative joint SMILES and AAdvantage® loyalty program partnership. It also expects to increase commercial cooperation with GOL to accelerate growth and create a more seamless experience for all customers.
Exclusive Codeshare between the U.S. and Brazil
GOL will become American’s sole codeshare partner in Brazil and American will become GOL’s sole codeshare partner in the U.S. On their combined networks, customers can travel to more than 30 destinations served by American in the U.S. and more than 20 new destinations in South America served by GOL.
American has served Latin America since 1942 and offers service to 17 destinations in South America, including Sao Paulo (GRU) and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) in Brazil, from its U.S. hubs in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Miami (MIA) and New York (JFK). American has flown more than 14 million customers between the U.S. and Brazil in the last 10 years – more than twice as many as any other U.S. carrier. GOL serves 63 destinations in Brazil and is the country’s largest airline.
Enhanced Joint Loyalty Offering
The largest network in the Americas will also be the most rewarding for travelers. In 2022, GOL’s SMILES and American’s AAdvantage loyalty members will gain access to their elite benefits such as priority check-in, priority security, priority boarding, a larger checked baggage allowance, lounge access and preferred seats on both airlines. The two airlines also expect to offer an enhanced joint loyalty offering to give customers more ways to earn and redeem miles.
The strengthened relationship will also allow for further commercial cooperation in areas such as purchasing, sales tools and systems integrations, as allowed by regulatory and contractual limitations. American will have the right to appoint one member to GOL’s board of directors, who, in addition to other duties, will be granted membership and participation on GOL’s Alliance Committee and any other board committees related to the operational partnership between GOL and American.
American will invest US$200 million in 22.2 million newly issued preferred shares of GOL in a capital increase, for a 5.2% participation in the Company’s economic interest. The completion of the agreements described in this press release, including the proposed equity investment are subject to conditions, including the negotiation, execution and delivery of definitive documentation, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A. has announced the acceleration of its fleet transformation by signing agreements for 28 additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which is expected to reduce the Company’s unit costs by 8% in 2022.
The total of 28 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will replace 23 Boeing 737-800 NGs by the end of 2022.
The Company currently operates 12 737 MAX aircraft, having returned 18 Boeing 737 NGs in the past 18 months. As a result of the new agreements, Gol will now end 2021 with 28 737 MAX aircraft (22% of the total fleet), and by the year-end 2022 will have received delivery of 44 737 MAX aircraft (32% of the total fleet). With its current 737 MAX commitments, Gol will meet its objective of having a 75% MAX fleet by 2030.
The aircraft will be financed via 15 direct operating leases, nine sale-leasebacks (“SLBs”) and four finance leases. The Company’s plan is to own around half of its fleet via finance leases, with the remainder in operating leases to give it high flexibility to upsize or downsize capacity based on demand. Additionally, bringing in the 737 MAXs enables Gol to accelerate returns of -700 and -800 NGs aircraft on short-term leases, while it maintains substantial flexibility to manage its fleet in close alignment with fluctuations in demand for air travel during the pandemic.
The Company operates 127 Boeing 737 aircraft. The 12 MAX in the fleet currently are financed via direct operating leases. The revised fleet plan is presented in the table below: