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  1. https://seekingalpha.com/article/4366902-gol-linhasereas-bankruptcy-appears-to-be-imminent Gol Linhas Aéreas: Bankruptcy Appears To Be Imminent Aug. 09, 2020 7:54 PM ETGol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL)2 Comments Summary Gol’s liquidity is drying up and there are no signs of recovery. The airline’s cash burn will increase in Q3, as it’s required to repay R$2.9 billion worth of loans. We believe that Gol could become bankrupt and it’s better not to invest in the company since the risk is too high, while growth opportunities are limited. Despite being one of the biggest airlines of Brazil with a fleet of over 100 planes, Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (GOL) faces an uncertain future ahead, as its liquidity is drying up and there are no signs of recovery. The bailout package that the Brazilian government discussed with major airlines a couple of months ago seems to be out of the picture and Gol, along with others, is unlikely to receive any substantial help from the state in the near term. At the same time, the airline’s cash burn is going to increase in Q3, as Gol is about to repay a $300 million loan to Delta (NYSE:DAL) in the next few weeks, which raises the chances of a liquidity crisis happening in the next couple of months. Back in June, the airline’s own independent auditor said that Gol could face insolvency in the foreseeable future. Considering this, we believe that Gol could become bankrupt and it’s better not to invest in the company since the risk is too high, while growth opportunities are limited. Liquidity Crisis is on its Way The biggest advantage of Gol is that it operates solely a Boeing 737 fleet, which makes the airline more efficient in comparison to its competitors. As a low-cost airline, it has one of the lowest operating expenses, which during normal times is considered a substantial competitive advantage. However, as COVID-19 started to spread all around Brazil, Gol was forced to shrink its fleet and return 18 leased 737-800 planes, while keeping the option to reduce its fleet by additional 30 planes in the next couple of years. The airline also decreased the number of its 737MAX orders from 219 to 95 planes and reduced the salaries of its workers to improve the cash burn rate. Despite those cash preservation measures, it’s unlikely that Gol will survive in its current state without going through a restructuring process, which will wipe out all the current shareholders. In its Q2 report, the airline said that its revenues decreased by 88.6% Y/Y to R$358 million, while its traffic was down 92.3% Y/Y. At the same time, its daily cash burn was R$3 million and there’s every reason to believe that the cash burn will only increase in Q3. As the airline faces an uncertain future ahead, we don’t see any upside for its stock. The biggest disadvantage of Gol is that it’s exposed to Brazil. With more than 3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, Brazil is the second-most infected country in the world, after the United States, and its healthcare system is on the brink of collapse. The pandemic also disrupted the country’s economy and since the beginning of the year, the Brazilian real depreciated by more than 35% to the United States Dollar. This is bad news for Gol, since the airline makes most of its revenues in Brazilian currency, while the majority of its debt is dollar-denominated. At the same time, as the country’s GDP is about to shrink by more than 5% in 2020, Gol will have a hard time recovering to its pre-COVID-19 levels in its current state anytime soon. Brazil’s Projected GDP Growth. Source: Statista Back in June, Gol’s independent auditor KPMG stated that the airline could become insolvent and will not be able to survive the pandemic. The company’s Latin American competitors LATAM and Avianca already filed for Chapter 11 and Gol could face the same destiny. A month after the warning was issued, Gol decided to fire KPMG and hired Brazilian Grant Thornton Auditores Independentes as its new independent auditor. Such a move raised concerns and several law firms started to investigate whether the company is committing fraud and hiding something from its shareholders. In one of its statements, Pomerantz law firm saidthe following: The investigation concerns whether Gol Linhas and certain of its officers and/or directors have engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices. In its latest conference call, Gol’s management stated that the airline has R$3.3 billion of liquidity at the end of June. In Q3, the airline will repay R$2.9 billion worth of loans and will continue to burn cash on a daily basis, since air travel is not going to recover anytime soon. In addition, R$0.7 billion of debt will mature in Q4 and the company is risking becoming insolvent by the end of the year. While it managed to raise an additional R$1.2 billion from its loyalty program, the airline will still face a liquidity crunch in the following months, as it will not be able to make any profits and generate cash in the current environment, while burning money at the same time. Source: Gol However, even if Gol manages to survive until the end of the year, the company’s high debt load will inevitably lead the airline to bankruptcy. At the end of Q2, Gol’s total debt was R$18.94 billion. While the majority of that debt matures in 2024 and beyond, it will prevent the airline from creating shareholder value anytime soon. By having one of the worst profitability margins among its peers, we believe that Gol is uninvestable even if it somehow manages to avoid a liquidity crunch. Source: Capital IQ Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
  2. Most airlines do not have a lot of time to focus on how the industry will be reshaped in a post-COVID-19 world. But there’s one overarching theme that emerges when they can take a step back and ponder how the industry will change after the crisis – markets will be smaller. The largest domestic airline in Brazil, GOL, believes that Latin America’s largest aviation market could potentially be smaller for some time after the pandemic ends, and that the crisis will force some airlines in the market to behave more rationally with capacity growth. For now, GOL is operating a skeleton schedule and has parked more than 100 aircraft. The airline also believes its planned international expansion will be delayed for some time. GOL’s competitor, Azul, which has also parked more than 100 aircraft, hopes to resume close to a normal operating schedule in Jul-2020, but as the crisis drags on it can only be speculated when any sense of normality will materialise. GOL and Azul join airlines worldwide in parking hundreds of aircraft Unlike some Latin American countries, Brazil has not totally shut down its domestic air routes. Instead, its airlines are operating bare bones schedules to keep an essential network in place. GOL and its rival Azul have both cut their capacity by 90%, and data from CAPA and OAG show that for the week of 20-Apr-2020, Brazil’s domestic ASKs will fall 89% year-on-year, before being planned to climb again in early May-2020. Brazil weekly domestic ASKs by year Jan-Jan: 2017-2020* Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation and OAG. * These values are at least partly predictive up to 6 months from 13-Apr-2020 and may be subject to change. GOL is currently operating 50 daily flights from São Paulo Guarulhos International airport to the 26 state capitals in Brazil. In early March, before the effects of the COVID pandemic quickly wiped out air travel demand worldwide, GOL was operating approximately 750 flights per day. The airline has parked more than 100 of its Boeing narrowbodies, and CAPA’s fleet database shows that GOL is operating just 10 aircraft. GOL fleet summary as of mid-Mar-2020 Source: CAPA Fleet Database. GOL CEO Paulo Kakinoff recently stated that the airline is expecting to maintain that diminished schedule until early May. Recently, GOL’s domestic competitor Azul has cut its capacity by 90% from March 25 to April 30 and is operating 70 nonstop flights to 25 cities. Azul has stated that it hopes to resume close to a full operating schedule by July. CAPA’s fleet database shows that Azul has parked 124 aircraft and has just 30 in service. Azul fleet summary as of mid-Mar-2020 Source: CAPA Fleet Database. Azul executives have remarked that the company believes the COVID-19 crisis will be a “two-to-three month problem”, but they have also acknowledged that the crisis could last longer. However, Azul has also said: “We are actually starting to see governments kind of change tune a bit and realize that you can’t have a full shutdown for too long because it would be disastrous to the economy”. GOL close to a break even performance in its current network configuration GOL has essentially reduced its network to 10% of what it was before the crisis, and Mr Kakinoff explains that “automatically, we have also dropped our variable costs down to that same level”. The airline has also taken measures to slash its fixed costs, including a 50% reduction in its payroll and the deferral of lease payments. “The good news out of the essential network is that we are close to break even in cash related to that essential network operation”, Kakinoff said. “So we’ve brought down our cost to the level of our revenues. It means by operating this essential network, we are not burning cash.” GOL does not believe the COVID-19 crisis will trigger consolidation in Brazil Brazil lost one of its major airlines in 2019 when Avianca Brazil, which at one point had domestic passenger share of 15%, ceased operations. The country’s remaining airlines largely backfilled Avianca Brazil’s capacity. At one point in 2019 GOL expressed some concern about domestic capacity growth, but as the year came to an end the airline concluded that Brazil’s domestic growth in 2020 would be rational. Obviously the COVID-19 crisis has wiped out any previous projections for industry growth, and there is no certainty when – or if – demand will reach its pre-crisis levels. GOL, according to its company CFO Richard Lark, believes that Brazil’s market “on the other side of this” could potentially be smaller for a period of time. GOL does not believe that the COVID-19 pandemic will trigger any consolidation in Brazil’s market, but Mr Kakinoff has stated that a possible positive outcome of the crisis is that there could be “lessons learned by some players in the market...now you can see how toxic an overcapacity approach can be.” LATAM Airlines Brazil is the country’s second largest domestic airline behind GOL, and for Apr-2020 LATAM is continuing to operate to 39 destinations in the country, with reduced frequencies. Overall, LATAM Airlines Group is cutting its operation by 95% for Apr-2020. GOL is also adjusting its expectations for international expansion. At one point, the airline was planning to grow its international business to 25% of its total operations during the next couple of years. But obviously those plans will change; as stated, there continues to be uncertainty about when demand patterns will warrant the addition of new international routes. Brazil's economy slows to zero and the return of demand is unknown Brazil’s passenger growth was just 1.7% in 2019, after 3.3% growth in 2018. The country’s economy was starting to grow after a recession in the middle of the past decade. But now the country’s government has forecast zero economic growth for the country in 2020, and it is likely that a contraction could occur. Even if Brazil’s airlines do resume close to normal schedules in 1H2020, they will likely need to stimulate demand with much lower fares, because Brazilians will monitoring their discretionary spend due to a shaky economic environment. There is also the general and continuing apprehension about travel created by COVID-19, and it could take some time for the population to get comfortable travelling again. Airlines worldwide and in Brazil will need to resize in a post COVID-19 world Brazil is not the only market that will emerge smaller in a post COVID-19 world. There is little evidence that demand will reach any type of normal level until late 2021 or 2022, and the result will be that airlines will need to adapt to their new operating reality. Brazil’s market was largely rational prior to the onset of the crisis, but its airlines will need to resize their operations in order to maintain the ideal balance of supply and demand. https://centreforaviation.com/analysis/reports/draft-covid-19-brazils-aviation-market-will-shrink-after-the-pandemic-521177
  3. January 30, 2020 Gol CFO Richard Lark, in Gol‘s Credit Suisse Latin America Investment Conference presentation, stated (29-Jan-2020) that “Gol is the leader in Brazil and Brazil is beginning to boom”. Mr Lark explained that inflation and interest rates in the country are at historic lows while GDP growth is normalising and governmental policies have led to a “steady recovery of economic growth over the last three years… [while] domestic travel is expected to expand between 6% and 9% in 2020”. https://blueswandaily.com/gol-cfo-gol-is-the-leader-in-brazil-and-brazil-is-beginning-to-boom/
  4. January 14, 2020 Gol reported (10-Jan-2020) it had the best aircraft utilisation in 3Q2019 out of any other carrier, with 12.6 block hours. Gol reported Ryanair had 12 block hours utilisation, followed by jetBlue with 11.9 hours and Azul with 11.7. https://blueswandaily.com/gol-claims-the-highest-utilisation-rate-in-3q2019-with-12-6-block-hours/
  5. https://diariodoturismo.com.br/gol-abre-vendas-de-passagem-para-novas-rotas-no-ceara-para-2020/ GOL abre vendas de passagem para novas rotas no Ceará para 2020 Em parceria com a TwoFlex e VoePass, a Companhia conecta o aeroporto internacional de Fortaleza a novos destinos do interior e litoral do Estado. A GOL Linhas Aéreas abriu as vendas de passagens para quatro novas rotas no Ceará, com início de operação em 2020: Crateús, Jericoacoara, São Benedito e Sobral, que se conectarão ao aeroporto internacional de Fortaleza, todas com a parceira TwoFlex. A partir de 13 de janeiro, a Companhia insere mais duas cidades: Aracati e Tauá. Além disso, com a outra parceira VoePass, a GOL voará para Natal e Juazeiro do Norte, também com passagens já à venda. EDIÇÃO DO DIÁRIO Os novos destinos entram em operação a partir de fevereiro do ano que vem, nas seguintes datas: dia 18, em Jericoacoara, Igatu e Crateús; já no dia 19, em São Benedito e Sobral; e no dia 22, em Aracati e Tauá. Se antes era preciso cerca de 5 horas para ir de Jericoacoara até a capital do Estado (pegando uma “jardineira” e em seguida um ônibus), agora será possível chegar, com esse mesmo tempo, ao Rio ou a São Paulo. Pela VoePass (com aviões ATR-72), as rotas a partir da capital são para Natal (até 4 voos diários) e Juazeiro do Norte (2 diários). Já com a TwoFlex (com Cessna Grand Caravan), os destinos são Jericoacoara (até 4 diários), Sobral (3 dias semanais), Igatu, São Benedito, Crateús e Tauá (esses, com dois dias semanais). “Somos a Companhia que democratizou a viagem aérea no Brasil e aquela que lidera a expansão da aviação regional. Nossa missão é ‘Ser a Primeira para Todos’, e estamos felizes por ampliar a oferta no Estado do Ceará, que assim fortalece o acesso ao turismo e aos negócios, reforçando também nossa posição de liderança no mercado brasileiro”, destaca Randall Aguero, diretor de Alianças da GOL. Todos os bilhetes já podem ser adquiridos no aplicativo, no site www.voegol.com.br, nas lojas VoeGOL e nas agências de viagem. Confira os horários dos voos: FORTALEZA – NATAL Origem - Destino - Frequência Natal 06:05 - Fortaleza 07:30 - Diária Fortaleza 08:15 - Natal 9:45 - Diária Natal 10:15 - Fortaleza 11:40 - Diária (exceto sábado) Fortaleza 15:40 - Natal 17:10 - Diária (exceto sábado) Natal 17:40 - Fortaleza 19:05 - Diária Fortaleza 23:05 - Natal 00:35 - Diária (exceto sábado) Fortaleza 19:35 - Natal 21:05 - Sábados FORTALEZA – JUAZEIRO DO NORTE Origem - Destino - Frequência Fortaleza 12:10 - Juazeiro do Norte 13:25 - Diária (exceto sábado) Juazeiro do Norte 13:55 - Fortaleza 15:10 - Diária (exceto sábado) Fortaleza 19:35 - Juazeiro do Norte 20:50 - Diária (exceto sábado) Juazeiro do Norte 21:20 - Fortaleza 22:35 - Diária (exceto sábado) FORTALEZA – SÃO BENEDITO Origem - Destino - Frequência Fortaleza 19:30 - São Benedito 20:40 - Domingos e Terças-feiras São Benedito 21:00 - Fortaleza 22:10 - Domingos e Terças-feiras FORTALEZA – CRATEÚS Origem - Destino - Frequência Fortaleza 19:30 - Crateús 20:25 - Terças e Quintas-feiras Crateús 21:00 - Fortaleza 22:10 - Terças e Quintas-feiras FORTALEZA – SOBRAL Origem - Destino - Frequência Fortaleza 08:20 - Sobral 09:15 - Domingos, terças e quintas-feiras Sobral 09:35 - Fortaleza 10:30 - Domingos, terças e quintas-feira FORTALEZA – IGUATU Origem - Destino - Frequência Fortaleza 07:50 - Iguatu 09:05 - Segundas e quartas-feiras Iguatu 09:25 - Fortaleza 10:40 - Segundas e quartas-feiras FORTALEZA – TAUÁ Origem - Destino - Frequência Fortaleza 07:50 - Tauá 08:50 - Sábados Tauá 09:10 - Fortaleza 10:10 - Sábados Fortaleza 16:00 - Tauá 17:00 - Segundas-feiras Tauá 17:20 - Fortaleza 18:20 - Segundas-feiras FORTALEZA – ARACATI Origem - Destino - Frequência Fortaleza 08:00 - Aracati 08:50 - Sábados Aracati 09:10 - Fortaleza 10:00 - Sábados Fortaleza 11:10 - Aracati 12:00 - Segundas-feiras Aracati 12:20 - Fortaleza 13:10 - Segundas-feiras FORTALEZA – JERICOACOARA Origem - Destino - Frequência Fortaleza 11:00 - Jericoacoara 11:55 - Diária Jericoacoara 12:15 - Fortaleza 13:10 - Quinta a Segunda-feira Fortaleza 13:30 - Jericoacoara 14:25 - Quinta a Segunda-feira Jericoacoara 14:45 - Fortaleza 15:40 - Diária Fortaleza 16:00 - Jericoacoara 16:55 - Diária Jericoacoara 17:15 - Fortaleza 18:10 - Diária Fortaleza 19:30 - Jericoacoara 20:25 - Sextas e Domingos Jericoacoara 20:45 - Fortaleza 21:40 - Sextas e Domingos
  6. https://blueswandaily.com/believing-in-brazil-international-pressures-remain-but-domestic-market-seems-to-be-showing-signs-of-improvement/ August 16, 2019 Brazil posed significant challenges for Latin American operators during 2018 because of currency fluctuations and uncertainty driven by the presidential elections. The pressure was largely in international markets – particularly to the US and Europe. LATAM Airlines Group recently said that there had been some rationalisation of capacity between Brazil and the US, but capacity from Brazil to Western Europe remains high. Forecasts indicate seats from Brazil to western Europe will be markedly higher in early 2019, and some of that is driven by LATAM’s introduction of flights from Brazil to Rome, Lisbon and Tel Aviv in 2018. LATAM is also introducing new flights from São Paulo to Munich in Jun-2019. LATAM appears to be closing in on finalising JVs that it tabled with its fellow oneworld partners American and IAG in 2016. Chile’s antitrust tribunal has approved the arrangements but the country’s Supreme Court is hearing appeals to the decision. Even as those appeals move forward, LATAM appears to have a level of confidence that it can progress with its proposed immunised tie-ups. GOL, LATAM and Azul all seem to have a reasonably positive view of Brazil’s domestic market. As 2018 drew to a close, LATAM has characterised domestic demand as healthy. Most of the country’s largest airlines have managed their capacity rationally and seats in the domestic market, while up slightly in 2018, remain below levels reached in 2012 and 2015. A focus on the Brazilian market will be one the discussion topics at the forthcoming CAPA Latin America Aviation & LCCs Summit. CAPA – Centre for Aviation will examine the current dynamics in Brazil with valuable insight from both the airline and airport sectors. As the foremost authority on aviation in the world, CAPA – Centre for Aviation’s events provide cutting edge knowledge about strategic market trends and dynamics to help attendees make informed decisions, delivering the information and connections needed to inspire and improve business. The CAPA Latin America Aviation & LCCs Summit will take place in Curaçao on 16-17 September 2019. The Latin American aviation industry is undergoing some dynamic changes. Airport and airspace infrastructure is improving, and airline operating efficiencies are rising. Airport privatisation processes are well underway and the global alliances framework is well established. Open access arrangements are taking hold and regional economies are recovering, driving a buoyant travel demand picture. But Latin American’s full service airlines could be performing better, particularly in the mission to unlock top line revenue improvements. What are the strategies the region’s airlines should be adopting, based on best practice from other regions and other sectors? Can they better leverage data, loyalty, distribution and ancillaries to produce better revenue outcomes and thereby drive improving profitability? Meanwhile a crop of new low cost carriers continue full steam ahead, opening up exciting new markets in their efforts to stimulate traffic in the region. But like their full service counterparts, they too face their own hurdles, with infrastructure constraints, high costs and an underbanked population potential stumbling blocks to further growth.
  7. Passaredo trará até cinco aeronaves até o fim do ano PonteAérea.net - disponível em https://ponteaerea.net/2019/07/26/passaredo-trara-ate-cinco-aeronaves-ate-o-fim-do-ano/ Tal ampliação tem como objetivo a entrada da empresa em Congonhas e o estreitamento dos laços com a Gol. A Passaredo Linhas Aéreas, maior regional do país ainda em operação, trará até cinco aeronaves até o final do ano. A informação foi passada ao Ponte Aérea pela própria companhia aérea. Nessa semana, a companhia anunciou três novas rotas em parceria com a Gol, ligando o hub da Gol em Brasília a Araguaína, Tocantins, Barreiras, na Bahia, e São José do Rio Preto, em São Paulo. Elas já estão à venda – exclusivamente pela Gol – e devem ser iniciadas em 1º de setembro. Entretanto, apesar de atualmente a regional contar apenas com 72-500 em sua frota, tanto o release quanto o sistema de vendas anunciavam as rotas como sendo operadas pelos ATR 72-600, o que levantou nosso questionamento. A empresa confirmou a possibilidade de trazer o ATR 72-600, bem como a intenção de, até o fim do ano, de adicionar mais cinco aeronaves à atual frota de seis ATR 72-500. “Atualmente a Passaredo conta com uma frota de 6 aeronaves ATR 72-500, a Passaredo está em negociação para aumento de sua frota com a possibilidade de agregar novos ATR 72-600.” Tal aumento de frota teria como objetivo a entrada da companhia em Congonhas, bem como alimentação dos voos da Gol. “A Passaredo está expandindo sua frota para atender aos novos destinos interline com a GOL e também para atender a nova malha do aeroporto de Congonhas. Até o final de 2019 serão agregados até 5 aeronaves adicionais na frota”, disse a companhia. Ainda, de modo a possibilitar a nova rota ligando São José do Rio Preto a Barreiras via Brasília, a Passaredo afirmou que o voo entre Guarulhos e Vitória da Conquista será encerrado a partir de 8 de agosto. No mesmo dia, a Gol assumirá esta operação com as suas próprias aeronaves. Coincidentemente, o estreitamento dos laços entre a Passaredo e a Gol vem uma semana após o estudo do Bradesco BBA que afirmava ser possível uma compra da regional pela Azul. Por fim, após a decisão da Anac que impediu Gol e LATAM de disputarem os slots remanescentes da Avianca em Congonhas, priorizando empresas com menor participação, o papel da Passaredo pode ser fundamental para a Gol. Não apenas para aumentar a operação da Gol em Congonhas, mas também para impedir que a Azul tome uma parcela maior destes slots, que devem ser distribuídos em breve. https://ponteaerea.net/2019/07/26/passaredo-trara-ate-cinco-aeronaves-ate-o-fim-do-ano/
  8. Slot allocation at airports worldwide is often a complex process, but the divvying up of Avianca Brazil’s slots in the wake of the airline’s demise has been particularly labyrinthine. An auction of the carrier’s assets was initially called off and then held, with LATAM Airlines Group and GOL emerging as the winners. But now it seems Brazil’s government has deemed that auction invalid. That could possibly benefit Brazil’s third largest airline, Azul, which refused to participate in the auction process. Azul has also tapped social media to make its case for slots at São Paulo Congonhas, a strategic airport for all airlines in Brazil. But the outcome of the drawn-out process remains anyone’s guess as Brazil’s domestic market becomes more concentrated after Avianca Brazil’s exit. The race for Avianca Brazil's assets has had many twists and turns Avianca Brazil sought creditor protection near the end of 2018 and subsequently its fleet dwindled as some of the airline’s aircraft were repossessed and others were returned to lessors. In May-2019 Brazilian regulator suspended the airline’s operations. The carrier was the fourth largest domestic airline in Brazil behind its competitors GOL, LATAM Airlines Brazil and Azul, and its market share before it sought creditor protection was between 13% and 15%. The wind-down of Avianca Brazil’s assets – mainly coveted airport slots – has been anything but predictable. Earlier in 2019 Azul forged a non-binding agreement to acquire significant assets of Avianca Brazil, paying USD105 million for 30 Airbus 320 jets and 70 airport slots that included slots at São Paulo Congonhas. Congonhas is a key market for business travellers taking the air shuttle to Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont airport. Azul’s service from Congonhas includes Porto Alegre, Curitiba, and Belo Horizonte. Its share of departing frequencies is just a fraction of those of LATAM Airlines Brazil and GOL. As of late Jul-2019, Azul had a total of 87 frequencies from Congonhas. São Paulo Congonhas Airport percentage of weekly departing frequencies by airline: as of mid-Jul-2019 Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation and OAG. After Azul declared its intentions, Avianca Brazil’s largest creditor, the hedge fund Elliot Management, struck a deal with LATAM and GOL for each company to offer USD70 million for Avianca Brazil’s assets at an auction originally scheduled for early May-2019. Avianca Brazil was divided up into seven segments to be auctioned off. After a legal challenge from Swissport Brazil, a court temporarily suspended the auction. Swissport claimed that the transfer of slots was prohibited. Azul then submitted a new bid for of USD145 million for slots pairs, including the slot pairs for shuttle service from Congonhas to Rio Santos Dumont. Before submitting its latest bid for Avianca Brazil’s slots, Azul’s management declared that “Congonhas would have been an incredible cherry on top of the cake for us to show our product to the market”. Brazil's government appears to have taken over Avianca Brazil's slot allocation In Jul-2019 an auction of Avianca Brazil’s seven units occurred, but Azul refused to participate, “because it did not believe in the legitimacy of the procedure”, according to The Rio Times. Both GOL and LATAM Airlines Brazil secured slots at São Paulo Guarulhos, São Paulo Congonhas and Rio Santos Dumont. After the auction, Azul launched a campaign highlighting the duopoly on the air bridge between Santos Dumont and Congonhas, noting that 95% of slots at Congonhas are held by LATAM and GOL. Data from CAPA and OAG comparing seat shares on the air bridge from mid-Jul-2018 to mid-Jul-2019 show that in 2018 Avianca Brazil’s seat share between Santos Dumont and Congonhas was 18.1%, compared with GOL’s 38.6% seat share and LATAM’s share of 43.3%. In 2019 GOL’s share was 51.8% and LATAM’s share was 48.2%. Brazil’s aviation regulator ANAC has reportedly deemed the auction of Avianca Brazil’s asset as invalid and has resumed the process of distributing Avianca Brazil’s slots. How that process will work is somewhat up in the air. ANAC has held consultations with aviation stakeholders regarding the allocation, but the outcome is far from predictable. But ANAC’s assumption of responsibility for the slot allocation should provide Azul some hope that it can gain additional slots at Congonhas. Brazil's domestic market remains stable after Avianca Brazil's exit As ANAC works to allot Avianca Brazil’s slots at Congonhas and other airports, domestic capacity growth in the country’s domestic market for the 5 months ending May-2019 was just 0.3%, with traffic growth of 2.1%. Domestic passengers grew 2.6% year-on-year, to 37.7 million, and GOL, LATAM Airlines Brazil and Azul all grew their respective passenger shares, with Azul’s share jumping 12.9% year-on-year to 25.7%. GOL remained the market leader, with a 34.4% share of domestic passengers – an increase of 3.9% year-on-year. LATAM Airlines Brazil’s market share increased 1.5%, to 31%. Avianca Brazil’s share fell from 12.9% to 8.3% and in ensuing reports released by ANAC, Brazil’s three largest airlines should report even greater gains in passenger share now that Brazil’s fourth largest airline has officially ceased operations. Brazil's domestic market is becoming more concentrated among three airlines The latest statistics from Brazil’s government show that from Jan-2019 to May-2019 GOL, LATAM Airlines Brazil and Azul had a combined domestic passenger share of 91%. Avianca Brazil was still operating limited services during part of that period, and now that the airline has completely ceased operations, Brazil’s domestic passenger share will become even more concentrated among the country’s three largest airlines. Azul is attempting to inject competition into one of Brazil’s busiest and lucrative domestic routes, but for now its ambitions remain in the hands of the country’s regulators. Want More Analysis Like This?
  9. SÃO PAULO Joana Cunha O presidente da Latam, Jerome Cadier, disse que está preocupado com a reputação do setor aéreo no Brasil. A crise de imagem emergiu na esteira da recuperação judicial da Avianca, que virou alvo de disputa entre as três maiores empresas aéreas brasileiras, interessadas em adquirir o que sobrou da empresa, aeronaves e funcionários, mas principalmente os slots (autorizações para pousos e decolagens) em Congonhas, para voar o rentável trecho RioSP. Em entrevista à Folha na semana passada, o presidente da Azul, John Rodgerson, afirmou que Latam e Gol se uniram para acabar com a Avianca e impedir a entrada da Azul na ponte aérea. São declarações que Rodgerson não pode provar, segundo Cadier, e maculam a imagem de um setor que deve sempre inspirar segurança. "Todo o discurso dele está baseado em mentiras. Ele leva o setor todo ao descrédito. Fica parecendo que é um setor que não é sério, que não tem regras", diz Cadier. O que o sr. achou das mais recentes declarações do presidente da Azul, de que a Latam e a Gol se uniram para provocar o fim da Avianca? Uma inversão da realidade. O que de fato aconteceu: em dezembro se decreta a recuperação judicial da Avianca e em março a Azul faz uma proposta de um leilão em que só ela, e nenhuma outra companhia, poderia participar. Semanas depois, a Elliott, principal credor da Avianca, negocia com a Latam e com a Gol uma outra forma de leilão, do qual a Azul também poderia participar. Mas ela não seria a única, teria de concorrer com Gol e Latam. Essa proposta alternativa é apresentada pela Avianca, aprovada pela assembleia de credores. Mas a Azul fez tudo o possível para barrar essa solução. Ela faz outra proposta, de novo uma proposta em que só ela pode participar e os outros não podem concorrer, surpreendentemente elevando preço. Para mim, a Azul quer levar a Avianca sem pagar. Como levar sem pagar? Esse discurso de que a Azul não consegue participar da ponte aérea porque duas empresas [Latam e Gol] não deixam é uma cortina de fumaça. É óbvio que todo o mundo quer mais concorrência. Eu entendo que o Cade [Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica] e o consumidor queiram mais concorrência em tudo, não só na ponte aérea. O que o John [Rodgerson] esconde é: ele já tem 13 slots em Congonhas. A Avianca tem 21 slots em Congonhas. Desses, ela usava 13 para operar na ponte aérea. Mas ele afirma que precisa desses 13 slots lá para fazer voos para os hubs da Azul, não? Então a discussão não é de ponte aérea. A discussão é de conexão com os hubs. Por que ele está alegando que quer entrar na ponte aérea? Isso ele já pode fazer hoje. Mas ele não pode querer ter as duas coisas: conectar com os hubs e também competir na ponte aérea? O objetivo dele é levar os slots pagando o mínimo possível. Sem concorrência. [se a Avianca acabar], existe uma regra de distribuição de slots [igualmente para todas as empresas]. Mas ele quer que a Anac [Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil] ou o Cade mude as regras de distribuição. Porque ele não quer participar do leilão, que é caro. Mas a Anac tem dito que precisa respeitar as regras atuais de distribuição de slots. Não tem de cumprir a lei? Ele quer que mude a lei. Ele está tentando montar essa cortina de fumaça, dar argumento de que a concorrência não deixa ele operar na ponte aérea. Ele já pode. Mas, se ele coloca os 13 slots dele na ponte aérea, ele fica sem a conexão dos hubs? O maior hub dele é Viracopos, em Campinas. Ele quer a ponte aérea, mas ele prefere usar os slots de Congonhas para conectar voos de Confins ou de Porto Alegre etc. Mas, se o passageiro vem de Porto Alegre para Congonhas, você acha que depois ele viaja para a ponte aérea? Não precisa. Ele pode usar Viracopos. O passageiro pode fazer Porto Alegre a Viracopos e depois Viracopos para o Rio. Isso é a cortina de fumaça? Que ele defenda os interesses da Azul. Mas sem acusar e mentir. Sem acusar as outras companhias como se tivesse duopólio ou alguma combinação, como se a gente tivesse feito a proposta da Elliott. Ele inverte o argumento. Ele fala que foram a Latam e a Gol que fizeram uma proposta na assembleia de credores. A Elliott liga para a Latam e fala que quer que a gente participe do leilão nessa condição em que eu divido. "Vocês estariam interessados?" Imagina que eu vou falar: "Não, obrigado, vou deixar a Azul porque ela está preocupada com os empregos". É óbvio que eu, defendendo os interesses da Latam, vou querer os slots. Quero conectar mais cidades e ter mais voos. Vocês também vão contratar funcionários da Avianca? A gente já contratou. Mais do que ele está falando que contratou e vai contratar. Nós já contratamos 320 tripulantes da Avianca. Já estão voando. Já temos dois aviões liberados pelo juiz em abril. Ele [Azul] parou de transportar passageiro [da Avianca] no evento do leilão. Ele está preocupado com o setor, mas para de transportar passageiros da Avianca? E somos nós que estamos forçando para a Avianca quebrar? Até agora transportamos 30 mil passageiros. De graça. Todo o discurso dele está baseado em mentiras. Ele leva o setor todo ao descrédito. Fica parecendo que é um setor que não é sério, que não tem regras. Para o setor aéreo, que precisa estar ligado à ideia de segurança, uma crise de credibilidade pesa mais? Ele pode defender os interesses da Azul. Mas que não minta nem faça acusações que não pode defender. Essas acusações que ele está fazendo não se sustentam. Vai ter de provar. Onde a gente tem uma ação que force a quebra da Avianca? É um momento em que o setor passa por uma crise brutal, com prejuízo acumulado das quatro companhias juntas no ano passado de R$ 1,9 bilhão, com uma das companhias falindo. Eu confio em que os órgãos reguladores Anac e Cade entendam o que tem por trás do posicionamento da Azul. Não tem evidência nenhuma. É um momento muito frustrante pelo comportamento. A Azul lidera em voos regionais, para aeroportos menores, sem a concorrência de vocês. E eles dizem que vocês são bem-vindos para ir competir nessas rotas. Por que não vão? A demanda lá é limitada? A Latam tem a restrição do tamanho dos aviões. Tem aeroportos em que eu não consigo pousar [com aeronaves muito grandes que compõem a frota da Latam]. A não ser que eu tenha aviões menores. Por que eles estão sozinhos nessas rotas hoje? Porque ele comprou a concorrente deles [em 2012]. A Trip foi comprada por eles, que se dizem próconcorrência, mas compraram o competidor. Hoje eu não entro [nas rotas regionais] ou porque eu não tenho um avião que cabe ou porque não tem demanda. Aí passa de uma situação em que alguém está ganhando e tendo operação sustentável para duas empresas terem uma operação não sustentável. Por isso ele tem o monopólio virtual hoje em muitas das rotas que ele opera. Em 70% das rotas que ele opera, ele está sozinho. Vocês também discordavam no tema da abertura do setor ao capital estrangeiro? Ele é contra. Por quê? Porque não quer concorrência. Se ele tem essa posição de que quer concorrência, por que é contra capital estrangeiro? E ele era tão contra que conseguiu influenciar para que a regra virasse: "Pode aprovar o capital estrangeiro, mas tem de voar 5% das rotas regionais". [Em abril, comissão mista do Congresso incluiu mudanças na medida provisória de abertura do mercado ao capital estrangeiro]. A quem interessa isso? Isso torna mais difícil a entrada de qualquer companhia de fora. Eles saíram da Abear, associação do setor. Como avaliaram isso? A Abear nunca tratou de temas comerciais. Isso, sim, seria cartel. Slot de Congonhas é um tema que nunca foi tratado. Ele está brigando por causa do leilão da Avianca, que é um tema comercial, e sai da Abear . Ela trata de questões relacionadas à segurança de voo, se pode ou não operar com brigada de incêndio, roteiro de navegação. https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mercado/2019/06/acusacoes-da-azul-sao-mentiras-que-levam-setor-aereo-ao-descredito-diz-presidente-da-latam.shtml
  10. 04-Jul-2019 7:18 PM South African Airways announces codeshare and frequent flyer agreements with Gol Linhas Aéreas South African Airways (SAA) has signed codeshare and Frequent Flyer agreements with Brazilian airline Gol - Linhas Aéreas (GOL). The agreement will enable SAA to add its code on flights operated by GOL in the Brazilian territory, which will allow SAA customers to integrate their travel with easy connections on flights of both carriers. The codeshare is effective from today and tickets can already be purchased through all SAA sales channels including flysaa.com. The agreement makes it possible for SAA to add its code on 20 connecting flights in Brazil operated by GOL, including Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, and Florianópolis, among others. The codeshare with the leading carrier in the domestic Brazilian market extends SAA’s reach throughout Brazil. Besides the codeshare, the signed Frequent Flyer Programme ("FFP") agreement offers members of each airline’s programmes, Voyager from SAA and Smiles from GOL, the opportunity to accrue and redeem miles. Customers from Smiles can accrue and redeem miles on flights operated by SAA to Africa, Asia and Australia, and Voyager members can accrue and redeem Voyager miles on flights operated by GOL. “We are extremely pleased with this agreement which comes at an opportune time and gives strategic impetus to our strategy of growing partnerships globally to offer our customers more travel options. It is an important step in the execution of our strategy and gives our customers, through our direct flights to Sao Paulo, a number of further travel options to explore Brazil. In turn, the mutually beneficial agreement offers GOL customers the chance to explore the riches of Africa,” says Zuks Ramasia, SAA acting Chief Executive Officer. “The partnership with South African Airways is in line with our commitment to offer a larger international connectivity, with quality of service and integrated products of each carrier. Thus, we enable more destinations options and connectivity bringing more benefits to our clients, with more agility and the smart use of time on their trips,” says Randall Saenz Aguero, GOL’s Director of Alliances, International Expansion and Distribution. This press release was sourced from South African Airways on 03-Jul-2019. https://centreforaviation.com/members/direct-news/south-african-airways-announces-codeshare-and-frequent-flyer-agreements-with-gol-linhas-areas-481536
  11. Avianca signs interline and negotiates codeshare agreements with Azul and Gol in Brazil June 21, 2019 Avianca Holdings interim CEO Renato Covelo stated Aviancabookings were impacted in Brazil due to the brand connection with Avianca Brazil (O Globo, 20-Jun-2019). Avianca signed interline agreements and is negotiating codeshares with Gol Linhas Aéreasand Azul Linhas Aereas to address domestic-international connectivity demand in the Brazilian market. https://blueswandaily.com/avianca-signs-interline-and-negotiates-codeshare-agreements-with-azul-and-gol-in-brazil/
  12. There is no doubt that the shrinking of Avianca Brazil has altered market dynamics in Brazil’s domestic market, and the country’s three largest airlines believe Avianca Brazil’s bankruptcy will create opportunities for the country’s remaining carriers. GOL, LATAM Airlines Brazil and Azul have all been vying for Avianca Brazil’s assets but the government suspended an asset auction, including airport slots, and now the fate of Avianca Brazil is anyone’s guess. While the government drags its feet on rescheduling an auction or some other form of asset dispersal, Avianca Brazil continues to languish with Brazilian operators suspending the airline's operations. As the uncertainty over the fate of Avianca Brazil shows no signs of disappearing in the near future, Brazil’s airlines maintain a reasonably positive view of the domestic market, despite headwinds created by rising fuel prices and currency devaluation. Avianca Brazil's market share falls as its fleet shrinks Brazil’s domestic travel increased by 4.3% year-on-year in 1Q2019 on 3.4% capacity growth. GOL remain the domestic market share leader, with a 36% share. LATAM Airlines Brazil’s share slipped 2.8ppt year-on-year to 30.8%, and Avianca Brazil’s share plummeted 12.2% to 11.0% as its ASKs dropped 7.5%. Brazil domestic traffic share by airline for 1Q2019 Airline Domestic share GOL 36% LATAM Airlines Brazil 30.8% Azul 21% Avianca Brazil 11.9% Source: Brazil ANAC. Avianca Brazil sought creditor protection in Dec-2018, and since that time the airline has had some aircraft repossessed and has returned others to lessors. CAPA’s fleet database shows the airline has six aircraft in its operating fleet as of late May-2019 – down from an operating fleet of close to 50 aircraft. Avianca Brazil fleet summary as of mid-May-2019 Source: CAPA Fleet Database. The capacity reduction is in some ways strengthening an already rational domestic market in Brazil. Recently, executives from Azul remarked that at one point Avianca Brazil had approximately a 13% to 15% market share in Brazil, and “we believe that in all scenarios only about half that capacity will ever put back into the market, which I think is very healthy overall for Brazil”, said chief revenue officer Abhi Shah. LATAM Airlines ups 2019 Brazil domestic capacity as Avianca Brazil shrinks Citing a healthy demand environment and the “declines recently made by one of our competitors”, LATAM Airlines Brazil’s management have said that the airline is boosting its domestic capacity growth in Brazil in 2019 5% to 7%, from original projections of an increase of 2% to 4%. LATAM Airlines Group is shrinking its planned international growth to flat to a 2% increase, a reduction from previous estimates of a 3% to 5% expansion. The company’s overall capacity growth for 2019 is now projected at 3% to 5%, versus previous estimates of an increase of 4% to 6%. LATAM has agreed to forge leasing deals on 10 Airbus A320s that the lessor Aircastle reposed from Avianca Brazil and has not made a final decision about where those aircraft will be deployed. The company believes that opportunities exist in Brazil, as well as Chile, Peru and Colombia. Avianca Brazil's reorganisation has been mired in unpredictability Avianca Brazil’s bankruptcy protection has been complex and somewhat temperamental. Earlier in 2019 Azul forged a non-binding agreement to acquire significant assets of Avianca Brazil, paying USD105 million for 30 Airbus 320 jets and 70 airport slots that included slots at São Paulo Congonhas. Azul does not currently serve Congonhas, which is key market for business travellers taking the air shuttle to Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont airport. See related report: Brazil aviation: positive outlook and Azul is still opportunistic Subsequently, Avianca Brazil’s largest creditor, the hedge fund Elliot Management, struck a deal with each of LATAM and GOL to offer USD70 million for Avianca Brazil’s assets at an auction originally scheduled for early May-2019. The company was divided up in seven segments to be auctioned off. After a legal challenge from Swissport Brazil, a court temporarily suspended the auction. Swissport claimed that the transfer of slots was prohibited. At the same time, Azul has submitted a new bid for of USD145 million for slots pairs, including the slot pairs for shuttle service from Congonhas to Rio. Prior to submitting its latest bid for Avianca Brazil’s slots, Azul’s management declared that “Congonhas would have been an incredible cherry on top of the cake for us to show our product to the market”. There has been no indication of a rescheduling of the auction, but Reuters is reporting that Elliot has opposed Azul’s latest bid, which further muddies the fate of Avianca Brazil. LATAM executives have stated that if there is no action for Avianca Brazil’s airport slots then the process would fall under current rules, which means they would be returned to a pool and distributed to the “current players”. As a result, Azul would lose out on an opportunity at Congonhas. Brazil's domestic market remains on solid ground, driven by sustained demand As the industry waits for the outcome of Avianca Brazil’s bankruptcy, the overall domestic market in Brazil remains solid despite rising fuel expense and currency pressure. LATAM has calculated that the BRL/USD average exchange rate for 1Q2019 was BRL3.77 per USD. Its Brazilian unit revenues denominated in the BRL grew 7.2% year-on-year in 1Q, but dropped by 7.2% measured in the USD. The company has seen fares increase and is forecasting double digit BRL unit revenue growth for its domestic operations in Brazil during 2Q2019. GOL’s year-on-year 2Q2019 unit revenue comps will be slightly inflated due to a trucker’s strike in Brazil during mid-May-2018 that pressured demand. But the airline is experiencing strong bookings and yields in Brazil’s domestic market. Azul has also commented it had experienced solid bookings in Apr-2019 and May-2019, noting a favourable balance between volumes and fares. Brazil's airlines should continue to maintain rational capacity growth Brazil’s domestic airlines have maintained a positive view of the domestic market over the past few months as the country slowly emerges from a recession. For now, it seems that those airlines are achieving a certain level of fare traction in the market as Avianca Brazil has now ceased operations. There is little doubt that at some point Avianca Brazil’s assets will be absorbed by the remaining airlines, and it appears those operators are aiming to maintain some degree of rational capacity growth in Brazil. https://centreforaviation.com/analysis/reports/brazilian-aviation-avianca-brazils-decline-assets-for-grabs-474772
  13. 23-May-2019 9:32 PM Brazilian carrier GOL Linhas Aereas will offer free messaging to all flyers on Gogo-equipped flights. The promotion is available fleet wide on all GOL flights equipped with Gogo 2Ku. While onboard, passengers using their smartphone can send and receive greetings from the sky at no charge using applications like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage. Guests can find more information about GOL Online and internet passes online. To learn more about Gogo inflight connectivity and entertainment, visit www.gogoair.com. This press release was sourced from Gogo on 22-May-2019. https://centreforaviation.com/members/direct-news/gol-offers-free-messaging-on-gogo-equipped-flights-474924
  14. https://economia.uol.com.br/noticias/estadao-conteudo/2019/05/05/uma-empresa-aerea-quebra-a-cada-dois-anos-no-pais.htm 2/8 São Paulo 05/05/2019 09h52 Luciana Dyniewicz Um leilão marcado para ocorrer na terça-feira, em um edifício próximo à Avenida Paulista, em São Paulo, colocará fim a mais uma companhia aérea brasileira. A Avianca Brasil será a 11.ª empresa do setor a encerrar as operações desde 2001 no País, que tem taxa de mortalidade de uma empresa a cada dois anos. Os casos de falência ou de recuperação judicial na aviação não são exclusividade do Brasil. Neste ano, outras nove empresas aéreas endividadas deixaram de voar no mundo, desde pequenas, como a sul-coreana AirPhilip, até companhias mais relevantes, como a Jet Airways, que chegou a ser uma das maiores da Índia. Nos EUA, American Airlines, Delta e United já tiveram de recorrer ao Chapter 11, o equivalente à recuperação judicial brasileira, mas acabaram sobrevivendo. Margens baixas, necessidade de injeções volumosas de capital, contratos de longo prazo com arrendadoras de aeronaves e vulnerabilidade ao preço do combustível --e ao dólar, no caso brasileiro-- estão entre os fatores que explicam a elevada taxa de mortalidade. "É uma indústria muito difícil no mundo todo", diz Jerome Cadier, presidente da Latam no Brasil. "Temos incerteza de curto prazo em relação à demanda e necessidade de tomar decisões de longo prazo, como o tamanho da frota. São decisões caras e difíceis de tomar." Foram basicamente duas dessas decisões que tornaram a situação da Avianca insustentável nos últimos anos, segundo analistas. Uma delas foi a de não enxugar a frota em 2015 e 2016, período mais delicado da aviação brasileira desde os anos 2000. Foram nesses anos que a crise econômica derrubou a demanda por transporte aéreo e os custos foram pressionados pela alta do dólar e do petróleo. Nessa época, muitos apostaram que a Gol seria a primeira a sucumbir - dado seu nível de endividamento -, mas uma renegociação com credores, aliada a um plano de devolução de aeronaves, garantiu a virada do jogo. Latam e Azul fizeram movimentos semelhantes em suas frotas e contaram ainda com novos recursos --a primeira vendeu uma participação para a Qatar e a segunda abriu capital. A Avianca, porém, não recuou no número de aeronaves, em uma tentativa de ganhar participação de mercado. Outra decisão equivocada foi a entrada no mercado internacional, em 2017. Um voo para o exterior tem um custo médio dez vezes superior ao de um doméstico. Se o avião não sai lotado, portanto, o prejuízo é grande. A operação internacional da Avianca queimou rapidamente o caixa da companhia, que já não tinha boa performance. Os resultados da empresa nunca foram dos melhores devido, em parte, ao fato de ela voar principalmente em rotas disputadas por Latam e Gol. A Gol foi a primeira companhia nacional a adotar um modelo de negócio de custo baixo, obrigando a Latam a ir por um caminho semelhante. Com aviões novos, mais eficientes e alta utilização da frota (em média voando 12 horas por dia, quando a média nacional era de 7 horas), a Gol estreou no mercado com um custo 40% inferior ao da Varig e da então TAM (hoje Latam). A Varig quebrou ao resistir ao corte de custos. A TAM se salvou justamente por fazê-lo - eliminou, mais recentemente, até a tradicional balinha de boas-vindas. Competição Gol e Latam se tornaram, assim, muito competitivas - o que tem dificultado a entrada de novas companhias no setor e feito novatas quebrarem no caminho, diz o especialista no setor aéreo André Castellini, sócio da consultoria Bain & Company. Para tentar ganhar passageiros em rotas dominadas pelas concorrentes, a Avianca apostou em preços inferiores para passagens compradas de última hora, apesar de oferecer um serviço muitas vezes superior - e mais caro -, como comida quente e espaço maior entre poltronas. A estratégia poderia funcionar para ganhar participação de mercado, mas não era sustentável no longo prazo. A Azul foi a única que conseguiu, até agora, entrar com sucesso no setor dominado por Latam e Gol. A receita foi fugir das rotas nas quais as duas estão presentes. Ajudou também o fato de ela começar a crescer quando a crise dava os primeiros sinais, obrigando Latam e Gol a focarem nas próprias operações, e não na concorrente. A questão é que atuar no mercado secundário é mais caro. Entrar no segmento da Azul tem, portanto, um desafio extra para uma possível nova estreante. As informações são do jornal "O Estado de S. Paulo"
  15. Brazil’s two largest domestic airlines – GOL and LATAM Airlines Brazil – have reasonably solid outlooks for their performance in the country during 2019 as the country marches toward an economic recovery. Uncertainty remains over the fate of Brazil’s fourth largest airline, Avianca Brazil. The airline sought bankruptcy protection in late 2018, and recently Brazil’s third largest airline Azul stated that it had entered a non-binding agreement to acquire some of Avianca Brazil’s assets – aircraft and slots at some of Brazil’s key airports. If those plans materialise, capacity rationalisation should be maintained in Brazil’s domestic market; however GOL and LATAM could find a formidable competitor in some key airports in Brazil. Azul has a track record of making opportunistic acquisitions to accelerate its position in Brazil’s domestic market – the largest in Latin America. Brazil posts solid domestic passenger growth in 2018; 2019 is off to a good start In 2018 Brazil posted 3.3% growth year-on-year in domestic passenger numbers, compared with an increase of 2% in 2017 and negative growth of 7.8% in 2016. Nearly 94 million passengers travelled in Brazil’s domestic market in 2018, which was still below the 96 million recorded in 2015 before the country’s recession hit its low point. Brazil domestic passenger growth from 2013 through Jan-2019 Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation and Brazil ANAC. The country’s tepid GDP growth of 1.1% in 2018 was largely driven by a truckers' strike and uncertainty over Presidential elections in Brazil. Its new President, Jair Bolsonaro, is largely viewed as business-friendly, and Azul has stated that the new administration appears to be taking all the right steps to promote the economic development of the country. Recently, GOL’s executives remarked that Brazil’s Central Bank was forecasting 2.5% GDP growth in 2019, and ABEAR, the association of Brazil’s airlines, estimates domestic air travel demand should grow 5% to 7%. GOL’s domestic traffic grew 3.1% in 2018 and load factors notched up 0.6ppts, to 80.8%. Its average fares increased 8% year-on-year and yields increased 7.7%. Brazil did face currency pressure in 2018, but the fluctuations largely affected international demand to North America and Europe. Both GOL and LATAM Airlines Brazil had reasonably positive views of Brazil’s domestic market at the end of 2018, and those views appear to be holding steady into early 2019. GOL and LATAM believe there are positive trends in the Brazil's domestic market GOL’s management has concluded that “business activities” were up year-on-year in late 2018 and early 2019, which was sustaining higher yields in the domestic markets. Additionally, the Carnival holiday was in Mar-2019 versus Feb-2018, which was positive for extending the the summer travel season in the country. Both GOL and LATAM Airlines Group have highlighted a certain level of capacity rationalisation in Brazil’s domestic market. Data from the Brazilian regulator ANAC show that domestic ASKs grew 4% year-on-year in Jan-2019. GOL has forecast that its domestic capacity will increase 2% to 4% in 2019, and LATAM Airlines Brazil expects its domestic ASKs to grow in the same range for the year. Azul is forecasting 16% to 18% domestic capacity growth. LATAM, which posted a 10.2% increase in domestic Brazil unit revenues in 4Q2018 (denominated in BRL, the result was a 6.2% decrease denominated in the USD), recently concluded that there are good trends in Brazil’s domestic market. However, “we believe that capacity discipline is very important to the market”, company executives recently stated. Data from Brazil’s ANAC and CAPA show that 2018 was the first year that Brazil’s domestic ASKs had increased above 1% since 2014. ASKs fell approximately 6% year-on-year in 2016 during a two-year recession in the country that began to wane in 2017. Brazil domestic ASK growth from 2013 through Jan-2019 Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation and Brazil ANAC. Azul stresses its pursuit of Avianca Brazil's assets won't upset capacity balance In Dec-2018, Brazil’s fourth largest airline, Avianca Brazil, sought bankruptcy protection as lessors threatened to repossess the airline’s aircraft. Data from ANAC show that Avianca Brazil’s domestic traffic share fell to 11% to 12.9% in Jan-2019, and its ASKs fell 7.2% year-on-year. Brazil domestic traffic share by airline for Jan-2019 Airline Percentage share GOL 39% LATAM Airlines Brazil 30% Azul 20% Avianca Brazil 11% Source: Brazil ANAC. Azul has forged a non-binding agreement to acquire significant assets of Avianca Brazil, including 30 Airbus 320 jets and 70 airport slots for USD105 million. The Rio Times has reported that the deal could allow Azul to bolster its slots at the close-in, high-yielding domestic airport São Paulo/Congonhas airport, which would be a positive strategic development for the airline (it will also gain slots at other airports if the deal is approved). Data from CAPA and OAG show that presently (as of mid-Mar-2019) Azul accounts for 5% of departing frequencies at the airport. Azul is also reportedly hoping to gain slots at São Paulo Guarulhos and Rio de Janeiro Santo Dumont. São Paulo Congonhas: percentage of departing frequencies by airline, as of mid-Mar-2019 Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation and OAG. Azul’s 16% to 18% capacity growth in 2019 includes some A320s that Avianca Brazil has already disposed of as part of its transformation plan, Azul executives recently explained. The company’s management stressed that it expected capacity rationalisation to remain intact if the proposed deal to acquire Avianca Brazil’s assets was finalised. It is a logical assumption, given that it is largely a transfer of assets designed to bolster Azul’s position in the domestic market. When Azul announced plans to purchase the regional Brazilian airline TRIP in 2012, Azul’s domestic market share was approximately 10%, and TRIP had a 4% share. The acquisition allowed Azul to obtain a higher share than it could have done through pure organic growth. Essentially, the acquisition of TRIP accelerated Azul’s growth by broadly four years. Azul has been opportunistic in Brazil's domestic market place Even as Azul believes its pursuit of Avianca Brazil’s assets will not materially affect the capacity balance in Brazil’s domestic market, in key markets GOL and LATAM will face a more formidable competitor with a more solid financial footing. Azul is marking more than a decade in service, and in that short period of time has been opportunistic in acquiring TRIP to bolster its position in Latin America’s largest aviation market. https://centreforaviation.com/analysis/reports/brazil-aviation-outlook-positive-trends-and-azul-still-opportunistic-464553
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