GOL, one of the largest domestic airlines based in Brazil, will be acquiring the regional carrier MAP Linhas Aéreas based in Manaus. The low-cost carrier will acquire the compatriot and regional operator for approximately $5.5 million.
The Manaus-based regional carrier was founded in 2011; it operated a fleet of ATR 42 and ATR 72. MAP received slots at São Paulo Airport, a goldmine that had huge corporate demand. The regional airlines was then bought by Passaredo, currently, VoePass, from which the GOL is trying to obtain the operator. With the deal, GOL is planning to take all of the MAP and VoePass slots in Congonhas. VoePass had transferred all of its slots to the regional operator a few months ago with 26 daily operations and 13 roundtrips that totaled to the 4.8% operation of the Congonhas Airport.
The 4.8% operation may seem like a small number, but with this, GOL will be getting leadership in the Congonhas over its competitor LATAM Brasil and with the opportunity to dominate the corporate market. Thus, this is basically the main reason behind the GOL’s plan to acquire regional carrier MAP Linhas Aéreas, as the airlines have insisted on maintaining its single fleet strategy. GOL will probably be re-shuffling the ATRs back to the VoePass with the acquisition of its initial ATR routes and giving the MAP’s Northern Brazil Network to a partner airline confirmed in a letter by the owner of VoePass, José Luiz Felício Filho.
Taking Over MAP
GOL is positive about the Congonhas operations providing a greater efficiency with the lowest unit costs in the world. The lower unit cost will let the company provide services with lower fares concerning the other carriers in the country that serve the market with smaller and less-efficient aircraft.
The Rio de Janeiro- based airlines also affirmed it would substitute the carrier’s three ATR 72s and five of the ATR 42s with the larger and efficient aircraft, Boeing 737-700s. GOL now operates 23 of the Boeing 737, which may be substituted with even more advanced and efficient aircraft in the near future. Similarly, MAP Linhas Aéreas has signed a letter of intent with DAE Capital to lease 12 B737MX with deliveries scheduled to be in October 2021.
GOL’s competitor, Azul Airlines, compared to other airlines that had to go through devastating losses, the airlines became one of Brazil’s top carrier companies in domestic flight terms. Azul emphasized the reduced passenger loads keeping up with the health protocols, possible only due to its massive fleet; however, GOL didn’t fall that far back from its competitor and secured second place of the most functional domestic flight carrier during the pandemic.
The GOL CEO, Paula Kakinoff, in the company’s first-quarter investor call in 2021, stated that the airlines was servicing 185 to 200 flights per day with 47 aircraft, and for the second quarter of 2021, the company expects a 39% of reduction in the service. Until March 2021, GOL airlines transported 45 million passengers without taking any international routes except for few charter operations due to heavy travel restrictions implemented by the government. And, the second wave even forced the airlines to nine of its bases at cities like Uberlandia, Londrina, and Campina Grande; the airlines company faced a net loss of $164 million due to the pandemic.
GOL is the first Brazilian airlines that decided to take the innovative path with a revolutionized business model and democratize air transport access since 2001. The airlines has reshaped the country’s aviation industry many times with its innovative approaches; GOL was the first airlines to launch check-in-service handled entirely by a cell phone. It also introduced the mobile geolocation service and website with accessibility features designated for people with visual and motor disabilities.
With the vision to be the best airline for everyone to travel, work or invest in, the Brazilian airlines emphasize the core values like the safety of the passengers, relaxation and comfort, top-notch services, including the best low-cost carrier packages.
According to the 2019 data, GOL had 122 aircraft in its fleet, but due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it had to adjust the size of the fleet to meet the reduced demand and even rejected leasing contracts of several aircraft.