Brazil Suffers Lowest Domestic Flight Frequencies In 7 Months

In April, Brazil will suffer a capacity crunch and will see the lowest number of flights in the last seven months, according to a statement provided by the Brazilian Association of Air Companies (ABEAR, in Portuguese). The country’s aviation industry is suffering from a new wave of COVID-19 infections and the end of the summer season. What does this mean for the airlines flying in Brazil? Let’s investigate further.

Azul and TAM Getty
April will have the lowest number of departures for Brazilian aviation since September last year. Photo: Getty Images.

The average daily number of flights is going down

Between December and January, the Brazilian aviation industry had a surge, riding on the summer season. The three leading airlines in the country, GOL, Azul, and LATAM, finished 2020 on solid notes.

In January, there were approximately 1,798 daily departures in Brazil, 25% below the pre-COVID levels, according to ABEAR. That number is the highest Brazil has got in the last year and since then, it has gone down.

This month, ABEAR believes there will be approximately 960 daily departures, almost half of what it had in January. The Association wrote,

“The worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the air industry to the lowest level of operations in the last seven months, back to September 2020, when the airlines operated approximately 864 daily departures.”

GOL and Azul Getty
Currently, Azul and GOL have had the largest number of passengers in the country. Photo: Getty Images

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How’s this going to impact the airlines?

So far, there have been 11 million air passengers in Brazil, between January in February. According to stats provided by the Civil Aviation National Agency (ANAC), the passenger traffic was still 48% below the pre-COVID levels. This shows there’s a lot more capacity than demand in the country.

So far, Azul Linhas Aereas has been the largest operator in the country. This low-cost carrier has had 3.7 million passengers, followed by GOL with 3.5 million and LATAM with 3.1 million.

In 2021, the most important international airline in Brazil has been Copa Airlines, carrying 52,236 passengers. International travel to Brazil has been really depressed due to the rising cases of COVID-19 infections. Many countries have closed their borders to Brazilians, and others are asking them to do up to three COVID-19 tests.

LATAM Brazil
This month, airlines in Brazil will offer 4.5 million seats. Photo: Getty Images

What does the data tell us?

In April, the airlines operating in and to Brazil will have 28,147 flights, according to data provided by Cirium. This means an offer of nearly 4.5 million seats. The average flight to the country will have 158 seats available. A total of 27 airlines will have flights in the South American giant this month.

If we compare this to the number of flight, seats, and operators Brazil had in April 2019, we find the following:

  1. There were 68,031 monthly operations two years ago. That’s a 58% decrease.
  2. The airlines offered 10.57 million seats.
  3. There was an average of 155.5 seats per departure.
  4. A total of 43 airlines landed on Brazilian soil.

ANAC follows EASA steps

On March 25, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a Safety Bulletin. EASA suggested that airline crews should not fly for three days after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

In Brazil, ANAC took a similar approach. In a statement, the Civil Aviation regulator said that pilots should wait at least 48 hours after being vaccinated. Moreover, if the airlines are scheduling flights with only one pilot, they should wait 72 hours, said ANAC.

What do you think about Brazil’s current crisis? Let us know in the comments.