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Brazilian Carrier GOL Signs Letter of Intent for 250 eVTOL Aircraft

A GOL 737 MAX at Paine Field (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Low-cost airline GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A., one of Brazil’s leading carriers based in Rio de Janeiro, announced that they have signed a non-binding letter of intent with Avolon for purchase and/or lease of 250 electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL). 

Avolon is the world’s third-largest leasing business specializing in providing aircraft leases and lease management services to airlines and their investors. The company is based in Dublin, Ireland with offices worldwide including in the United States, Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. Currently, Avalon’s fleet consists of 837 aircraft, including aircraft leased by US carriers American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest Airlines. 

“Today’s announcement represents a significant step in building an eVTOL ride sharing platform that will reshape the commercial aviation market in Brazil. Gol and Grupo Comporte both bring broad and diverse networks, along with proven track records in scaling multiple businesses, making them the ideal strategic partners for Avolon,” stated Avolon’s CEO Dómhnal Slattery. “Their unparalleled market access, coupled with our deep knowledge and relationships in the Brazilian aviation market, leaves us strongly positioned to capitalise on the expected demand for VA-X4 zero-emissions, ultra-short-haul transport.”

The Brazilian carrier placed the order for 250 VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft manufactured by Vertical Aerospace, a British aircraft manufacturer. Founded in 2016 and based in Bristol, England, Vertical Aerospace specializes in the designing and building of zero carbon, electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. 

Faster, Quieter, Greener, Cheaper

The Vertical Aerospace VA-X4 aircraft prides itself on its speed, quietness, affordability and sustainability. Reaching speeds higher than 200 mph, the vehicle is 100 times quieter than a helicopter at cruise. The eco-friendly aircraft produces zero emissions and is capable of carrying one pilot and four passengers at ranges of 100+ miles. Maximum performance of the aircraft is achieved through its lightweight carbon fiber composite airframe. 

“The VA-X4 is ideal for a city like Sao Paolo with a population of over 22 million people. Our eVTOLs will transform how we travel around high population density cities that are clogged with traffic by taking to the skies with zero emissions aircraft,” said Vertical Aerospace CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick. “We look forward to working with our existing partners Avolon and our newest partners Gol and Grupo Comporte, on bringing this revolution in air travel to Brazil.”

The entity helping fund the project is Grupo Comporte, an entity in conjunction with the airline’s leading shareholder. 

Founded in 2001, GOL currently operates a fleet of 127 Boeing 737 aircraft. Utilizing these aircraft, the airline leads in Brazil’s corporate and leisure segments and continues to operate with the lowest unit cost in Latin America. 

The VA-X4 could quite possibly be the first commercial aircraft utilized by airlines that has a zero carbon footprint. It will be exciting to see how the carrier decides to utilize the aircraft and which direction they move in developing this unique route network. The aircraft will help GOL further capitalize in the corporate and leisure market segments with its plans to begin operations in 2025. 

Chase Hagl

Author

  • Chase Hagl

    Chase Hagl grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. His love and passion for Aviation landed him in Orem, Utah where he obtained a B.S. in Aviation Management with a minor in Business Management from Utah Valley University. Chase currently works as a flight attendant in Charleston, SC and is also the primary Inflight ASAP ERC representative for startup airline, Breeze Airways. His experience in the aviation industry spans back four years, working in areas including agriculture application, customer service, maintenance, and flight ops. In his free time, Chase enjoys road biking, astronomy, and flying.

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