GOL Requests More Traffic Rights at Campinas

Brazilian low-fare carrier GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes has filed a formal request with Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) to expand its operations at Viracopos International Airport, in Campinas.  The carrier, the largest budget operator across Latin America, is seeking rights to introduce a further six daily rotations which will be used to introduce five daily services to Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont Airport and an additional single daily flight to the capital Brasília.

GOL already has a presence at Campinas and offers non-stop services to Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Galeão, the main international gateway into Rio de Janeiro, as well as one-stop onward connections from these destinations to other points in its network through connecting flights.  The Brazilian carrier sees Campinas as a complementary facility to its existing operations from São Paulo and believes this planned growth will have little impact on its existing operations.

"With the expansion project at Campinas airport, we identified an opportunity for the company to grow in the region, absorbing the demand from cities such as Limeira, Jundiaí, Piracicaba, Itu and Sorocaba, among others," explained Eduardo Bernardes, Commercial Officer, GOL.  "Our aim is not to get passengers from São Paulo to depart via Viracopos, but to make the entire network of the company and its partners available to customers from Campinas and the region. In order to do this, we are already analyzing the possibility of offering buses departing from some of the cities located near Campinas, to facilitate the arrival at the airport.”

“With the expansion project at Campinas airport, we identified an opportunity for the company to grow in the region, absorbing the demand from cities such as Limeira, Jundiaí, Piracicaba, Itu and Sorocaba, among others.  Our aim is not to get passengers from São Paulo to depart via Viracopos, but to make the entire network of the company and its partners available to customers from Campinas and the region.”

Eduardo Bernardes
Commercial Officer, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes

Alongside GOL’s current four routes from Campinas it has previously served a number of other markets from the airport, including Rio’s Santos Dumont up until July 2004.  Other destinations it has served include Salvador between August 2009 and August 2011; Recife between October 2009 and April 2011 and Porto Alegre between October 2009 and December 2011.

Viracopos International Airport is currently the seventh largest passenger airport in Brazil but it has grown as a key logistics facility and established itself as the country’s second largest air freight gateway.  The airport itself has two separate codes which can cause some confusion.  The official IATA airport code is ‘VCP’ but the specific city code for Campinas is ‘CPQ’ and different airlines use different codes to display their flights. 

The reason for this is that there is a distinction between them in airline reservation systems to highlight the wider São Paulo airport system - Campinas is located approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the city of São Paulo and has a catchment area of approximately seven million people in a 100km radius.  An airline that files services with the code ‘VCP’ has flights displayed when passengers or travel agents request service from São Paulo, whereas flights filed with the code ‘CPQ’ are displayed as service from Campinas, not São Paulo.  GOL uses the ‘CPQ’ code while the facility’s largest user Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras uses the ‘VCP’ code.

Currently, Campinas airport has one runway, which allows up to 30 operations per hour.  Following the privatisation of the airport in February 2012, a series of new investments for Campinas have been announced, including a new runway by 2017, according to Aeroportos Brasil, the private consortium that won the bid to operate Campinas airport. In the shorter term, a R$1.4 billion investment program has been announced to provide, in time for the Football World Cup in 2014, a new passenger terminal for up to 14 million passengers per year, a new apron for 35 aircraft and 4,500 additional car parking spaces. Total investments at Campinas over the next 30 years are expected to amount to more than R$8.9 billion and, according to Infraero, Campinas airport is expected to reach 60 million passengers per year by 2030 as a result of these investments.

GOL last year had a 10.6 per cent share of the total available seat capacity at Campinas, significantly below the figure recorded by its low-cost rival Azul, which has its main base at the facility.  In the table below we highlight the total seat capacity from the airport in 2012 and the share of the six airlines that fly from there.

SCHEDULE AIR CAPACITY FROM CAMPINAS VIRACOPOS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (non-stop departures; 2012)

Rank

African Market

Estimated Passengers

% Total Demand

% Change (2011)

1

Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AD)

88,925

9,438,290

81.7 %

2

GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (G3)

7,331

1,227,148

10.6 %

3

TAM Airlines (JJ)

2,940

510,720

4.4 %

4

TRIP Linhas Aéreas (T4)

3,492

284,060

2.5 %

5

TAP Portugal (TP)

286

74,542

0.6 %

6

PLUNA Líneas Aéreas Uruguayas (PU)

258

23,220

0.2 %

TOTAL

103,232

11,557,980

-


Meanwhile, GOL has confirmed it is evaluating growth into new markets which could see it launch its first long-haul international flights.  The carrier is understood to be looking closely at the African market and in particular the Nigeria, a destination it will be able to serve directly from Brazil with its existing fleet of Next-Generation Boeing 737s.  

“GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, as a competitive company, is constantly evaluating opportunities to add value to its business and benefit its clients.  At the moment, it is studying the possibility of opening a new route between Brazil and Nigeria, in Africa.  The new flight would be operated by GOL's standard fleet of Boeing 737 NG.” the carrier said in a statement, adding that a formal announcement will be made if it “decided to proceed with the operation”.


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