GOL Boeing 737 Diverts To Petrolina Following Engine Shutdown

A Gol Transportes Aereos 737-800 was diverted to Petrolina after the plane suffered an engine shutdown. The flight was scheduled to fly from Juazeiro Do Norte (JDO) to Sao Paulo (GRU) but was back on the ground within 40 minutes of departure.

GOL Boeing 737-800
GOL is an all-Boeing 737 operator and flies the -700, -800, and MAX variants. Photo: Boeing

Takeoff troubles

The incident occurred on 31st December, just hours before the New Year was rung in. GOL flight G3-1875 was flying its scheduled route between Juazeiro Do Norte Airport in Ceará to Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport. The 737 departed JDO at 17:07 local time, a few minutes ahead of schedule.

According to The Aviation Herald, the takeoff was smooth until 23,300 feet, when the pilots noticed issues with the right-hand engine. The CFM56 powerplant had failed and the crew proceeded to shut the engine down, as per safety rules. With one engine down, the pilots reached out to the closest airport for landing.

The usually three-hour journey was cut short to just 40 minutes. Data and Map: RadarBox.com

The engines issue occurred 10 minutes into the flight, with the pilots decreasing altitude and setting course for Petrolina for a diversion. After a quick hold over the airport, the 737 landed safely at 17:46 local time, just 39 minutes after departure. All 182 passengers proceeded to the terminal and awaited another aircraft to take them onward to Sao Paulo.

The plane

As with most of GOL’s routes, the aircraft flying between JDO and GRU was a Boeing 737-800, registered PR-GXM. According to Planespotters.net, the plane is just over eight years old, coming into service with GOL in late 2013. At the time of writing, the aircraft remains on the ground in Petrolina.

GOL Boeing 737-800
PR-GXM, pictured here, is one of 89 737-800s in GOL’s fleet today. Photo: Ecliptics via Wikimedia Commons

Modern aircraft are capable of flying safely with only one engine, with diversions being fairly common when snags occur. However, it wasn’t all good news for the passengers onboard.

Those with New Year plans in Sao Paulo or beyond found themselves stuck in Petrolina until past 00:00, as GOL found a replacement aircraft to fly them home. Passengers finally left the city at 00:22 and landed in GRU at 02:37, well past most of the festivities.

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New year for Brazilian aviation

While passengers on the flight may not have had the best start to the New Year, Brazilian aviation is hoping for a strong recovery. The country is home to a booming domestic market, led by Azul, GOL, and LATAM, which are driving much of the recovery. However, as borders reopen and vaccines become available, airlines expect to see international traffic bounce back in the near future as well.

GOL Boeing 737-800 Getty
GOL will be hoping to increase its international capacity in the coming months. Photo: Getty Images

GOL is currently seeing a load factor of 82.4% domestically and 70.2% on the international side as of November. With a new year here, the airline will be hoping to retake its top position in the market and bounce back to pre-pandemic capacity soon.

What do you think about GOL and Brazilian aviation’s recovery? Let us know in the comments!