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Brazil’s Gol Airline Sees Bluer Skies for Its Operations

Gol Airlines from Brazil Brazilian airline Gol has just announced its preliminary traffic figures for May, 2009. According to the company management, Gol recorded in May its third successive monthly upturn in demand in its consolidated route network, when domestic passenger traffic (measured in RPK – revenue passenger kilometers) moved up by 5.3% over April 2009.

Gol cites among the reasons behind this result the company's leading position in terms of landings and departures in Brazil's main airports plus the introduction of new fare packages and the revitalization of mileage program Smiles.

In the same period, Gol expanded its supply of seats (measured in ASK – available seat kilometers) by 6.6% over the previous month, giving a total load factor of 58% – 60% on the domestic market and 47% on the international market. In comparison with May 2008, RPK fell by 19.3% due to the elimination of long-haul routes.

Gol says that it's maintaining its disciplined strategy in regard to market seat supply and revenue management, given that the second quarter is traditionally characterized by low demand. In addition, this year (exceptionally) there was a high concentration of holidays in April and therefore most of the low season fall-off was concentrated in May.

As a result, Gol's net yield in May remained above the 19.43 cents (R$) recorded in 2Q08, but well below the 23.27 cents (R$) registered in FY2008. In the first two months of 2Q09, yield was slightly below, but very close to, the 21.93 cents (R$) recorded in 1Q08.

On the international market, given the closure of intercontinental operations in 2008, Gol reduced its ASK by 51.2% over May 2008 and by 4.1% over April 2009.

In year-over-year terms, the load factor also experienced a decline, falling to 47.1% in May, chiefly due to the previously mentioned repositioning of the international network. In comparison with the previous month, the load factor fell by 3.6 percentage points, reflecting May's lack of extended holidays, given the more tourism-oriented profile of Gol's international network.

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