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Brazil’s Gol Airline Reaches 8 with Hint of Bluer Skies Ahead

Gol airplane Brazilian Airline Gol celebrated this Thursday, January 15, its eighth birthday. Since its creation in 2001 the company transported more than 100 million passengers. After showing remarkable growth for several years Gol has slowed down considerably recently, apparently burdened by the acquisition of a bankrupted Varig, once Brazil's flagship airline.

Since launching operations in January 2001, the Gol has achieved over 40% market share and today serves 59 destinations with 104 airplanes, employs almost 16,000 people and owns five brands Gol, Varig, Smiles, Vôe Fácil and Gollog.

In 2008, the airline completed the incorporation of Varig. According to a Gol release, the operational synergies due to this acquisition have already benefited the company. They cite as evidence the operational profit of R$ 61.2 million on the third quarter of 2008 and a load factor of 68% in December 2008.

"Gol has made and will continue to make," said the company in the release, "significant investments in operations that have cemented the company's reputation as one of the safest and most efficient companies in the global aviation industry.

"Today, Gol's modern, safe and comfortable fleet of Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft, have an average age of 5.5 years and offer low maintenance costs, low fuel consumption while also providing high operational efficiency."

The company also informs that during the last eight years, approximately 1,600 captains and copilots received over 37,500 hours in flight simulators and 240,000 hours of flight.

Additionally, 22,500 members of Gol's maintenance team underwent 20,000 hours of training. Construction to expand the company's maintenance center in Confins, a city in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, is expected to be completed later this year and should increase the center's capacity to serve up to 110 aircraft.

Gol has changed the way the Brazilian aviation industry does business by focusing on the Internet for ticket sales, eliminating the need for traditional paper tickets. The airline also introduced the concept of online check-in, allowing passengers to print their own boarding pass.

Gol is also the first Brazilian airline to offer passengers the technology to check-in using just their mobile phone.

In 2008, the Smiles program was expanded to include Gol customers, allowing them to accumulate miles by purchasing tickets, or services or products from approximately 115 partner companies in Brazil and abroad.

Gol offers nearly 800 daily flights to 49 destinations connecting the most important cities in Brazil and ten major destinations in South America. The company operates a fleet of Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft.

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