Gol plans for modest 4% capacity growth in 2012

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Brazil's Gol is targeting a conservative capacity growth of 4% for 2012, as it seeks to focus on higher productivity and improving yields.

In an earnings call today, the airline's chief financial officer Leonardo Porciúncula Gomes Pereira cited the slower economic growth in Brazil as the main factor behind Gol's modest capacity plan.

Gol will concentrate on improving operations efficiency in 2012, and is aiming for a fleet utilisation of about 13 to 13.5 block hours a day, up from 13 in 2011. It targets a load factor of 70% to 72% in 2012, said Pereira.

Gol expects to grow its capacity by 7% in 2011 and achieve a load factor of around 70% this year.

The airline is in the midst of acquiring Webjet, a purchase that must win the approval of Brazil's anti-trust authority CADE.

The 4% capacity growth in 2012 takes into account the fleet of Webjet, said Gol's CEO Constantino de Oliveira Jr. The two airlines are reviewing their fleet plan for 2012.

Webjet's fleet of 24 Boeing 737-300s will be absorbed into Gol's fleet when the acquisition is complete, but Pereira has said these aircraft will be phased out as their leases expire. He added today that it is possible Gol could transfer aircraft to Webjet.

Gol will operate a fleet of 115 aircraft by year-end, comprising 75 737-800s and 40 737-700s.