American, GOL Gain Final Approval For Partnership

Brazil’s antitrust regulator said the deal could increase competition on routes between Brazil and the US.

Credit: Joe Pries

Brazil’s GOL said it has closed its partnership deal with American Airlines, allowing both carriers to extend their networks.

Following approval from Brazilian regulators, American has invested $200 million to take a 5.3% holding in GOL. The accord between the airlines was announced in September 2021, pending regulatory approval that has now been granted.  

As part of the deal, GOL will become American’s sole codeshare partner in Brazil and American will become GOL’s sole codeshare partner in the US. On their combined networks, the carriers said passengers would be able to travel to more than 30 destinations served by American in the US and over 20 new destinations in Latin America served by GOL.

Brazil’s antitrust regulator CADE approved the agreement without restrictions, saying the two airlines’ operations will be “complementary” and could increase competition in Brazil.   

CADE noted that Azul Brazilian Airlines and LATAM Airlines, GOL’s two biggest competitors in Brazil, have strategic partnerships with US airlines. Azul partners with United Airlines, while LATAM is tied to Delta Air Lines. Allowing GOL to partner with American “has the potential to increase competition” on routes between Brazil and the US, CADE said.

American operates to Sao Paulo (GRU) and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) in Brazil. GOL’s network covers more than 60 destinations in Brazil. GOL does not currently fly to the US.

American moved to codeshare with GOL—the just-closed accord follows a previous codeshare pact signed in February 2020—after LATAM exited the oneworld alliance, joined SkyTeam and entered into a deal with Delta in which the US carrier took a 20% stake, ending previous ties between American and LATAM.