Brazil's Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligente has reported high load factors for the month of April 2020 in comparison to industry trends which demonstrate low load factors amid a time of crisis.
Gol's fleet of Boeing 737 MAX's are all stored as a result of the global grounding which began in March 2019. Photo by Preston Fiedler | AeroNewsX
Gol has, in its preliminary traffic figures for April 2020, recorded a load factor of 79.5% which was just slightly lower than the 80.8% reported in April 2019.
The carrier has reduced capacity significantly as a result of depleting demand but has managed to maintain strong load factors. This does bring about questions regarding social distancing measures. On an Aer Lingus flight recently, passengers took to social media as the flight was completely full.
Many carriers have, at least for the short term, announced plans to keep the middle seat empty to maintain some sort of social distancing. However, this has been criticised by the likes of Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary who said that if such measures were obligatory, the carrier would not return to regularly scheduled passenger flights.
Gol says passenger demand is down 93.6%. The carrier responded by removing 93.5% of its total flight offering. Domestically, demand was slightly higher than on the international side of the business. The capacity reduction reflects that with a 92.6% reduction in supply within Brazil and 99.2% internationally.
Gol has continued to operate services around Brazil to enable limited connectivity despite the pandemic. In fact, it operated 1164 flights in April 2020. On the contrary, internationally Gol operated just 6 flights.