SAO PAULO, Brazil – GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A., Brazil’s low-cost airline company, announced that it has received Anac (National Civil Aviation Agency) approval to implement its new integrated route network. The new timetable, currently available on the company’s website, will be effective beginning October 19, 2008.
The new network compliments the company’s unified structure by eliminating overlapping routes and schedules between GOL and VARIG. The new network will also improve flight occupancy levels by allowing the company to increase offerings in markets where it has consolidated operations while also allowing for new connections between previously unlinked cities.
“These network changes, implemented to optimize operations and increase customer options, position GOL as the airline company with the most extensive and convenient timetable in South America,” said Wilson Maciel Ramos, GOL’s vice-president, planning and IT. “We now offer approximately 800 daily flights to 49 destinations in Brazil and ten important international destinations in South America.”
Under the new route network, GOL will operate the domestic flights and short-haul flights to Asuncion (Paraguay), Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Rosario (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay), Lima (Peru, via Santiago), Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) and Santiago (via Buenos Aires). VARIG will operate medium- haul international flights to Bogota (Colombia), Caracas (Venezuela) and Santiago (Chile). This division was based on a profile of international passengers traveling on flights longer than four hours, who are predominantly business travelers and prefer more complete service.
In Brazil’s domestic market, GOL has improved the time and frequency of flights at Congonhas Airport (Sao Paulo), the company’s main hub in the country. For example, the company will launch new direct flights to Londrina, Maringa and Caxias do Sul. GOL will also offer more convenient schedules to popular destinations for business traveler, including the Rio de Janeiro (Santos Dumont) – Sao Paulo (Congonhas) air shuttle, with departures every 30 minutes.
At the regional level, the company strengthened connections between Fortaleza, Manaus, Recife and Salvador, major hubs in the Northern and Northeast regions. To improve operations in regional markets, GOL will also launch direct flights between Cuiaba and Porto Velho, Curitiba and Campo Grande, Rio de Janeiro (Tom Jobim-Galeao) and Manaus, and Joao Pessoa and Salvador. Direct flights from Belo Horizonte (Confins) to Recife, Goiania, Curitiba and Uberlandia were also created. From the federal capital, Brasilia, GOL will offer direct flights to Campo Grande and Vitoria. With these new flights, customers in these regions will have easier access to all destinations in the integrated route network.
In the international market the company has changed the departure times of VARIG flights departing from Bogota (Colombia), Caracas (Venezuela) and Santiago (Chile) to Sao Paulo. These changes will offer more direct connections when a customer’s final destination is Rio de Janeiro. Similar changes were also made to GOL service between Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) to Sao Paulo.
New sales system
With the integration of GOL and VARIG’s operations into one, unique route network, the company’s ticket sales system and IATA codes will also be unified. The entire timetable, including VARIG’s inventory in the Iris and Amadeus systems, will be gradually migrated to the New Skies system under the G3 code. By doing this the company will reduce costs and simplify processes, simultaneously offering customers more convenient options when purchasing tickets.
“In this first phase, all international VARIG flights will remain available for sale through www.varig.com and travel agents. However, as the company integrates both systems, all Internet sales and flight schedules for both brands will soon be available on one website, www.voegol.com.br. This will greatly assist passengers in choosing the most convenient flight options,” says Ramos. “Additionally, VARIG’s customers will benefit from the technological innovations already available at GOL, such as checking-in or purchasing tickets via mobile phone.”