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A GOL 737-800 landing in São Paulo/Congonhas Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | João Machado)

American Airlines and GOL Announce Codeshare Agreement

This Tuesday, American Airlines and GOL, Brazil’s largest airline, announced a mutual codeshare agreement, which will allow both airlines to increase their respective networks in their peer’s home markets. The agreement is still pending regulators’ approvals.

American says the partnership will be present in 53 flights operated by GOL, departing from the Brazilian gateways of Brasília, Fortaleza, Manaus, Rio de Janeiro (Galeão) and São Paulo (Guarulhos).

On the other hand, GOL’s passengers will benefit from 540 flights operated by American Airlines in the U.S., mostly from the Miami gateway, to up to 30 destinations.

The agreement will also include frequent-flier benefits such as mutual points earning and redemption in American’s AAdvantage and GOL’s Smiles, expected to start by the first half of this year.

American’s Senior Vice President of Network Strategy, Vasu Raja, stated in a press release, “We have a long and rich history in South America, and this new relationship with GOL further enhances our presence in the region. Our customers will continue to have access to places they’ve always loved to travel to on American like Rio, São Paulo and Brasília, and will gain access to new destinations on their wish list.”

GOL’s CEO, Paulo Kakinoff, added that “as two of the leading airlines in Brazil and the U.S., GOL and American Airlines will offer the best experience for customers on the largest number of flights and destinations in the Americas. This will strengthen GOL’s presence in international markets and accelerate our long-term growth.”

American Airlines also announced it would boost its flights to Miami, adding twelve new flights to six different cities in the U.S., including Boston, Houston, Nashville, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, and Tampa. The flights will be placed to make for a smooth connection time in the Florida gateway.

Additionally, American will add a second daily flight from Miami to Rio (Galeão) for the Winter season, to be operated with the Boeing 787-8 — one of the airline’s first flights in Miami to be regularly operated by the Dreamliner.

A codeshare agreement was already expected by the market since Delta — a long-time partner of GOL — bought a 20 percent stake in LATAM, which was partners with American. This meant that GOL had to cut ties with Delta, and that American needed to cut with LATAM, leaving both American and GOL with no partners anymore in the Brazil-U.S market.

Talks between both airlines started just after the Delta-LATAM partnership was announced. It was also reported at the time that GOL was in talks with United Airlines for a partnership, although it is unclear if these talks ended with Tuesday’s announcement.

The alliance may be beneficial for both carriers. While American is a very strong player in the U.S.-Brazil market, flying to GOL’s three hubs in Brasília, São Paulo (Guarulhos) and Rio (Galeão), as well as Manaus, GOL is the strongest domestic operator in Brazil. Its fleet is composed solely of 737s, which makes it rely on strategic alliances for its long-haul operations.

GOL also flies from Brazil to the U.S., connecting Brasília and Fortaleza to Miami and Orlando. These flights were nonstop, but after the grounding of the 737 MAX, they are forced to make a fueling stop in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

João Machado
João Machado
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