Gol to reconfigure majority of 737 fleet with extra legroom seats

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Brazilian low-cost carrier Gol will reconfigure 80% of its Boeing 737 fleet with extra legroom seats, following the popularity of the new product on selected aircraft that it rolled out late last year.

The seat reconfiguration project has led Gol to downgrade its domestic capacity projection for 2014 to a range of -3% to flat, from flat previously.

The airline says the seat reconfigurations will be completed by May. Gol will have 33 aircraft with the new reconfiguration by the 2014 Carnival, starting in late February, and 116 aircraft reconfigured before the World Cup beginning in June.

The reconfiguration will result in 22 extra legroom seats with 34in seat pitch, up from 30in, on the airline's 737-800s. The seat recline will increase by 50%, says the airline. The remaining regular seats on the 737-800s will have its seat pitch grow to 31in from 30in.

As a result of the new configuration, the number of seats on the 737-800s will fall to 177. Gol had varying numbers of seats on its 737-800s previously and says the reconfiguration will help standardise the seat configuration for each 737 variant it has in its fleet.

Gol's 737-700s that will be reconfigured will have 138 seats afterwards. They were previously configured with 144 seats, Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows.

Gol first introduced the extra legroom seats, branded as Gol+Conforto, last year on its Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont-Sao Paulo Congonhas shuttle flights. The product proved to be popular with business travellers, says Gol's head of products Paulo Miranda. "By offering greater comfort, we are underlining our commitment to providing the best flying experience," he says.

It is not immediately clear if Gol plans to reconfigure its entire 737 fleet.