Brazilian airline Gol has agreed to purchase ATR turboprop operator MAP from Voepass, which had itself acquired the Amazon regional carrier in 2019. Gol affirmed in a note that it would substitute the carrier’s three ATR 72s and five ATR 42s with “larger and more efficient aircraft,” namely Boeing 737-700s, 23 of which the airline now operates, and a model “that may be substituted by an even more efficient aircraft in the future.” Gol will also gain MAP’s 26 valuable Congonhas Sao Paulo Airport slots, increasing by about 10 percent its participation at that profitable airport.
“Unit costs among the lowest in the world will offer Gol greater efficiency with these new Congonhas operations,” Gol said. “These lower costs will let the company offer lower fares in relation to any competitor in Brazil, which typically serve these markets with smaller and less-efficient aircraft.”
The pandemic upended the Brazilian market, which saw Azul become the country’s biggest carrier in terms of domestic flights as it adapted to reduced passenger loads with its heterogeneous fleet, while Gol dropped to second place. The Brazilian government in recent years has made increasing air service in the Amazon a priority; the Ministry of Infrastructure in February announced investments to upgrade three airports for commercial flights.
Voepass also sees growth opportunities in the deal, as Gol assumes short-term debt and, in the medium term, possibly expands capacity purchase agreements. Voepass currently serves 20 destinations for Gol. “We will have an excellent opportunity with the market’s economic recovery for the expansion of regional aviation routes in Brazil,” said Voepass CEO Eduardo Busch in a statement. “The post-crisis recovery work is only beginning.”
The deal remains contingent on regulatory approvals.