How Brazil’s Aviation Recovery Is Progressing

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Brazil was one of the first countries to open up its airspaces in Latin America. The three leading carriers of Brazil, LATAM, GOL, and Azul, have increased their capacities every month. But the job is far from over. There’s still a long way to go for a 100% recovery. Let’s dive into the numbers of the Brazilian air industry after COVID-19.

GOL Getty
Among the three leading carriers in Brazil, GOL has had the largest number of passengers in 2020. Photo: Getty Images.

How many passengers have traveled so far in Brazil?

Since 29 July 2020, Brazil has lifted all its coronavirus entry regulations. It paired with Mexico as the only two countries in Latin America to have no restrictions at all. This is good news for the aviation industry, although it may have made it harder to restrain the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, Brazil has over 5.2 million total cases of COVID-19, the third worldwide, after the US and India.

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According to stats by the Ministry of Transportation, Brazil has had 60.79 million passengers between January and August. That’s a 56.58% decrease in comparison with the first eight months of 2019.

So far, GOL Linhas Aereas is the number one airline in the country, with 20.30 million passengers. Despite its Chapter 11 reorganization, LATAM Brazil has had 19.68 million passengers so far. Finally, Azul has transported 16.82 million passengers in 2020.

The Brazilian nexus with Portugal is still powerful. TAP Portugal is the fourth-largest carrier in Brazil in 2020 by paid passengers. The State airline has transported 403,173 passengers this year, followed by Aerolíneas Argentinas and American Airlines.

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LATAM Brazil
LATAM Brazil is currently under a Chapter 11 reorganization in the US. Photo: Getty Images

Let’s check the airport data

Brazilian airports are among the most congested in Latin America. Guarulhos International Airport is a powerhouse that, before COVID-19, had over 42 million passengers yearly. In Latin America, only Mexico City airport had more passengers in 2019, with over 52 million.

Despite that, COVID-19 has also hit hard on the airport numbers in 2020. These are the Top 10 airports, so far, in Brazil:

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  1. Guarulhos International Airport: 12.77 million passengers (-53.59% in comparison with 2019’s January to August)
  2. Sao Paulo International Airport: 4.79 million passengers (-67.28%)
  3. Brasilia: 4.54 million passengers (-58%)
  4. Campinas: 3.71 million passengers (-45.60%)
  5. Galeao International Airport: 3.35 million passengers (-61.97%)
  6. Santos Dumont International Airport: 2.89 million passengers (-51.09%)
  7. Confins: 2.89 million passengers (-58.94%)
  8. Recife: 2.74 million passengers (-51.84%)
  9. Salvador: 2.24 million passengers (-52.64%)
  10. Porto Alegre: 2.15 million passengers (-58.96%)

Totally, the Brazilian airports have had a 56.58% decrease in comparison with last year.

Azul Linhas Aereas
Azul has had the best recovery so far. Photo: Getty Images.

How are the recoveries of the three airlines in Brazil?

Arguably, Azul Linhas Aereas is having the best recovery among the three leading Brazilian airlines. According to a statement by the airline, it is flying at approximately 55% of its pre-COVID capacity during October. It also reduced its cash burn to less than US$450 thousand a day during the last quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, GOL operated in September an average of 270 flights per day while also reclaiming its pole position at Galeao International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. GOL is serving 95% of the destinations it had before the pandemic from Rio.

Finally, LATAM Brazil is going through its reorganization process. It recently returned two A350. We will find more about LATAM’s future when it files its reorganization plan in New York’s Bankruptcy Court.

Next year is going to be very interesting in Brazil. With LATAM’s reorganization, GOL’s arrears in the US, Azul’s growth, and the appearance of two new airlines in ITA Linhas Aereas and Nella Linhas Aereas, we could see interesting developments in the largest South American market.

Are you expecting to travel to Brazil this year? Let us know in the comments.

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