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Brazil’s Gol Diversify Fare Categories Away from Its Frugal Image

Gol airline Brazilian Airline Gol just announced it’s launching a new fare category structure that include these options: Comfort, Flexible, Scheduled and Promotional.

The Comfort fare, available on Varig’s medium-haul flights to Bogota (Colombia), Caracas (Venezuela) and Aruba (Caribbean), offers extra space between seats and more onboard privacy. Other advantages include a 50% mileage bonus and check-in, boarding and baggage handling priority. In addition, passenger has access to VIP Smiles lounges.

The Flexible Fare allows passengers to change the time or date of their flight, in addition to conferring other benefits, such as boarding priority, access to VIP Smiles lounges and a 25% mileage bonus.

The Scheduled Fare offers the best prices for those booking in advance while the Promotional Fare have the lowest prices.

Gol stresses that it was the first Brazilian airline to eliminate paper tickets and introduce check-in by cell phone. Recently, the company has introduced more innovations, such as iPhone services and the sale of snacks and drinks on board (Buy on Board).

Gol says it expects accelerated growth of the number of Smiles program participants, Buy on Board service and Ancillary Revenue for 2010 and 2011.

Gol expects to grow is Smiles program from its current client base of 6.7 million to 9.1 million participants by the end of 2010 (about a 35% increase compared to February 2010 and a 40% increase compared to the 6.5 million participants in December 2009).

The Buy on Board service offered by the Company since April 2009 should increase from 42 daily flights to about 50% of its daily flights by the end of 2010.

Ancillary revenue is expected to represent up to 20% of net revenue in 2011, considering its financial revenues, due to the expansion of the VoeFacil program, focus on cargo services (GolLOG), Buy on Board, and other products to be launched by Gol and its commercial partners, which will explore its e-commerce platform.

Gol also announced flights to a new international destination: Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. The flights, which have already been approved by the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) should start  April 3.

“We identified substantial passenger demand for this destination, which has a strong tourist appeal. In addition to serving Brazilian holidaymakers and attracting people from Caracas, where we will begin selling flights to the Dominican Republic shortly, we will be increasing the daily utilization rate of our aircraft,” declared Leonardo Pereira, Gol’s Executive Vice President.

Flights will take place weekly on Saturdays, from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo international airports at 9 a.m. and 11:05 a.m. (local time), respectively, arriving in Caracas, Venezuela, at 3:30 p.m. (local time) for a short stop over before taking off at 4:10 p.m. (local time,) and arriving in Punta Cana at 6:15 p.m. (local time).

On the return trip, the aircraft will leave the Dominican Republic at 9:00 p.m. (local time), arriving in Caracas at 10:05 p.m.(local time), before flying on to Brazil where it will arrive in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro at 10:45 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. (local time), respectively.

The flights will be handled by Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft under the Varig brand and will be equipped with the Comfort Class services which offer more space between seats, hot meals and individual on-board entertainment.

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