Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes recently signed an agreement to buy 28 Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft that will replace 23 of its 737-800 NGs by the end of 2022, according to media reports. The airlines mentioned that the new planes will reduce unit costs by 8 percent next year and they will generate about $200 million in cash equity gains.
Gol chief financial officer Richard Lark told the media, “We’ve concluded our multi-year planning and, combined with the return of the company’s sustainable growth rate via the take-in of the minority interest in our loyalty program, we will now have more cash flow available for investment in aircraft acquisitions.”
GOL is Boeing’s best South American customer. The airline already has 127 Boeing 737 aircraft across its fleet. At present, the airline flies 12 MAX 8 aircraft and by the end of 2021, GOL plans to have 28 737 MAX 8 aircraft by end of 2021 and 44 MAXs flying by the end of 2022. So, by end of 2022, GOL’s total fleet will have 32 percent of Boeing 737 MAX.
GOL also released a statement saying that the arrival of the new 737 MAXs allows the airline to accelerate the return of Boeing 737-700 and it will also get substantial flexibility managing its overall fleet since the demand for air travel continues to be unstable because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new fleet will be financed by 15 direct operating leases, nine sale-leasebacks, and four finance leases. Going forward, their strategy is to have half its total fleet on finance leases and the remaining part on operating leases. The airlines also mentioned that it will maximise flexibility and enable it to increase or decrease in capacity, keeping up with the demand for air travel.