GOL Cleared To Grow Sao Paulo Footprint Through MAP Acquisition

The acquisition will add to GOL’s market share lead at Sao Paulo Congonhas Airport. 

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Brazilian regulators have approved GOL’s acquisition of MAP Linhas Aereas, paving the way for GOL to expand its presence at one of Brazil’s most strategic airports, Sao Paulo Congonhas (CGH). 

GOL, Brazil’s largest airline, announced its intent to purchase MAP, a Brazilian regional airline, in June 2021. 

By adding MAP's CGH operations, GOL will be able to grow its presence at the airport by 10% with the addition of 26 daily flights. GOL has a slight lead over LATAM Airlines Brazil for market share at CGH and will be able to increase that advantage with the MAP buy. Data from Aviation Week Network’s CAPA show that for the week of Jan. 3, GOL accounts for 44.6% of CGH departures, followed by LATAM Airlines Brazil at 43.4% and Azul with a 10.5% share. 

CGH is located close to Sao Paulo’s city center and is favored by business travelers. But the airport is slot controlled, so GOL is seizing an opportunity to expand its presence at the airport. 

At the time GOL stated its plans to acquire MAP, the smaller airline operated a fleet of seven ATR turboprops, but it is uncertain whether GOL will utilize those aircraft. GOL, an all-Boeing 737 operator, has indicated it will maintain its single-fleet strategy to operate new routes from CGH. 

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“The company also has the additional flexibility to evaluate new aircraft types or partnerships that can service these regional markets more cost efficiently, with no future obligation as it relates to MAP's current fleet,” GOL said. 

GOL has described the acquisition as “an unparalleled market opportunity for rational consolidation in the Brazilian aviation market” that reflects the company’s “ongoing commitment to expanding the demand for passenger air transportation in Brazil ... This add-on acquisition is a significant step in our strategy of expanding network and capacity, as we look to revitalize air travel demand among leisure and business passengers." 

MAP, founded in 2011, operates from Manaus (MAU) to Brazil’s Amazon region and from CGH to the country’s south and southeast regions.