Brazil’s Gol Gets 35% Boost in Demand with 76% of Seats Taken

zzz Brazilian airline Gol announced that its preliminary data show that in December the company’s air traffic demand grew by 34.8% in relation to the same period last year, reflecting both the company’s better positioning in its markets in 2009 and increased demand, which was driven primarily by Brazil’s economy’s recovery signs.

Gol mentions as factors for this improvement a higher frequency and regularity between Brazil’s main airports, strong cost advantages, the revitalization of Smiles, Latin America’s largest mileage program.

Domestic market demand grew by 36.2% in relation to December 2008, and by 14.7% in relation to November 2009, reflecting the seasonal increase in demand, given the fact that the summer high season begins in December and the higher number of days in the month (30 days in November, versus 31 in December). Average daily demand was 11.0% higher in relation to the same period.

International demand was up 23.9% in relation to December 2008, mainly reflecting the adjustments to the Company’s international network, which sought to improve this segment’s profitability by launching new routes between Brazil and the Caribbean with flights to Aruba and Curacao, and the adjustments to the frequency of flights to Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela.

In addition, international traffic benefited from the decline in the U.S. dollar exchange rate and the economic recovery in Brazil and South America. International traffic also recorded nominal growth of 17.5% in relation to November, impacted by seasonality and the higher number of days in the month (average daily traffic rose 13.7%).

As a result, in December of 2009, Gol registered a total load factor of 76.3%. The load factor was 77.1% in the domestic market and 70.3% in the international market.

The load factor in the international market was 21.4 percentage points higher than the 48.9% posted in December 2008, and 5.7 p.p. higher than the 64.6% in November 2009.

                    December  December    % Chg   November   % Chg
  Operating Data    2009*      2008*     (YoY)    2009*     (MoM)
  Total System
    ASK (mm) (1)     3,702.9   3,240.8    14.3%   3,433.5     7.8%
    RPK (mm) (2)     2,827.0   2,097.3    34.8%   2,458.1    15.0%
    Load Factor(3)     76.3%     64.7%  +11.6pp     71.6%   +4.7pp
  Domestic Market
    ASK (mm) (1)     3,278.6   2,748.1    19.3%   3,040.5     7.8%
    RPK (mm) (2)     2,528.7   1,856.6    36.2%   2,204.1    14.7%
    Load Factor (3)    77.1%     67.6%   +9.5pp     72.5%   +4.6pp
  International Market
    ASK (mm) (1)       424.3     492.7   -13.9%       393     8.0%
    RPK (mm) (2)       298.3     240.7    23.9%     253.9    17.5%
    Load Factor (3)    70.3%     48.9%  +21.4pp     64.6%   +5.7pp

( * ) Data for December 2009 is preliminary; Data from the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) for December 2008 and November 2009.

In December, the company expanded its domestic capacity by 19.3%, while demand increased by 36.2%. This strategy was clearly more effective in the international market, where Gol contracted its capacity by 13.9%, while demand increased by 23.9%.

As a result of the gradual recovery in yields following the scenario of increased price competition, net yield showed recovery once again in December, reaching slightly more than 19.00 cents of real. This brought the net yield to approximately 18.00 cents of real in the fourth quarter of 2009 and to just above 20.00 cents of real in the whole of 2009.

  Operating Data        4T09      4T08   % Chg        3T09    % Chg
  Total System – Quarter
    ASK (mm) (1)     10,592.0   9,460.1    12.0%   10,212.7     3.7%
    RPK (mm) (2)      7,770.8   5,629.1    38.0%    6,705.8    15.9%
    Load Factor (3)     73.4%     59.5%  +13.9pp      65.7%   +7.7pp

  Operating Data         2009       2008    % Chg
  Total System – Year
    ASK (mm) (1)      39,988.0   41,106.9    -2.7%
    RPK (mm) (2)      26,095.6   25,308.1     3.1%
    Load Factor (3)      65.3%      61.6%   +3.7pp

(1) Available seat kilometers (ASK) is the sum of the products obtained by multiplying the number of seats available on each flight stage by the distance of the average flight stage.

(2) Revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) is the sum of the products obtained by multiplying the number of revenue passengers carried on each flight stage by the average stage distance.

(3) Load factor is the percentage of aircraft seating capacity effectively used, which is calculated by dividing the number of passenger-kilometers flown by the number of seat-kilometers available.

Gol offers around 800 daily flights to 49 destinations that connect all the important cities in Brazil and ten major destinations in South America and the Caribbean.

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