Gol details plans for Dominican Republic subsidiary

San Antonio
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Gol is targeting a June launch for its new subsidiary Gol Dominicana in the Dominican Republic.

The Santo Domingo-based carrier will initially have four Boeing 737-800s and serve both connecting traffic to North America as well as the local market, which lacks a local airline, says Mauricio Emboaba Moreira, a senior advisor to Gol, on the sidelines of the Network USA 2013 forum in San Antonio on 4 March. The aircraft will come from Gol's fleet.

Gol Dominicana plans to begin new flights from Santo Domingo to Brasilia, a second city in Brazil, New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) and either Boston or San Juan when the local company is incorporated, says Moreira. It will also take over Gol's existing routes to Miami, Orlando, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo Guarulhos at that time.

The JFK flight will be timed to complement codeshare partner Delta Air Lines' existing twice-daily service on the route, says Moreira.

Gol also codeshares with Delta on its flights between Atlanta and Santo Domingo.

Gol Dominicana will serve 14 markets with 11 aircraft by 2017 based on plans outlined by Moreira. He says that Gol will add three more aircraft to the Dominican fleet for a total of seven in December.

Possible future destinations for Gol Dominicana include Buenos Aires, Cancun, Lima, Mexico City, Santiago de Chile and Toronto, says Moreira.

The Dominican operation will resemble that of Panama-based Copa Airlines, both in terms of routes and aircraft type. However, it has the added benefit of a local market with 10 million people compared to Panama City that has about 1.3 million people.

Moreira says that Gol also evaluated Curacao and Georgetown, Guyana, as possible hubs before selecting Santo Domingo as the base for the new carrier.

Gol Dominicana will be a national carrier of the Dominican Republic and as such ownership will be split 65% Gol and 35% local investors, says Moreira. It is currently looking for investors.

The Dominican Republic has not had a national carrier since Dominicana ceased operations in the mid-1990s.