Brazilian carrier Gol Linhas Aereas is to refresh its fleet by replacing 23 Boeing 737-800 NG narrowbodies with 28 new 737 Max 8s. In an August 3 announcement, the operator said it will take delivery of the new aircraft by the end of 2022, reducing its unit costs by eight percent with the more fuel-efficient equipment.
Over the past 18 months, Gol has returned 18 other 737 NGs to lessors, replacing them with a dozen examples of the new Max model. By the end of this year, it expects to be operating 28 Max aircraft, rising to 44 by the end of 2022. By 2030, the company intends for three-quarters of its fleet to consist of the current production 737 type.
The new aircraft will be financed by a mix of 15 direct operating leases, nine sale-leasebacks, and four finance leases. The company has not disclosed the identity of the lessors but has told investors that it plans to own around half of its fleet via finance leases, with the remainder on operating leases in order to have the flexibility to increase or decrease capacity to fit fluctuating demand for flights.
According to Gol, the Max burns 15 percent less fuel than the 737 NGs, generates 16 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions, and reduces noise by 40 percent. It said that on the 23,000 flight hours logged with the aircraft since 2019, it has consumed 9.7 million fewer liters of fuel and emitted 24,300 fewer tons of greenhouse gases.
Announcing financial results for the second quarter of 2021 last week, Gol said Brazil's domestic travel market is recovering well from the Covid pandemic. Net revenues bounced back by 187 percent compared with the same period in 2020 to reach BR1 billion ($192.4 million), while revenue passenger kilometers increased by 344 percent to 3.4 billion. EBIT earnings for the second quarter recovered to BR 144 million ($27.7 million).