According to Paulo Kakinoff, the balance between supply and demand continues to be a fundamental aspect for a sustainable aeronautical industry
Original source: Diario do Turismo – Brasil
DIÁRIO exclusively interviewed the president of GOL Linhas Aéreas, Paulo Kakinoff. We share their responses below:
What would be the most challenging issues for GOL to maintain the basic balance, recover the pre-pandemic pattern and evolve?
I think there are reasons to be optimistic. The balance between supply and demand continues to be a fundamental aspect for GOL for a sustainable aeronautical industry, and with this approach we are working towards 2022. The challenges at this time are not different from those we faced a few months ago, which are the costs of the operation, mainly the value of aviation fuel, which is dollarized.
Where could (and still can) government agencies contribute, in a non-paternalistic way, to the support and recovery of the airline industry as a whole?
Throughout these years of the pandemic, especially in 2020, the Brazilian government supported us in several initiatives that made it possible to relax obligations that would impact the financial health of companies, such as the extension of the period for refunding tickets to customers and payment deferrals. to government-run companies. However, unlike what was observed in other countries, direct financial contributions were not available to help the airlines. In other words, obtaining resources to face the crisis came from the company’s own capacity with the capital market and its investors/creditors. As a Company, what we have to do is address the structural issue of costs, highly affected by the dollar and fuel prices,
In January 2022, Gol Linhas Aéreas turned 21 years old. What is there to celebrate?
There is much to celebrate. We are a company that was born to be the First of All and we democratize air transport in Brazil. In these two decades we have never stopped innovating and we have established a relationship of trust with Brazilians recognized by the market. GOL transformed the industry in Brazil and, as a result, the number of Clients using air transport increased almost 3-fold. We got through the pandemic by keeping our team complete and ensuring operation even in the most difficult times. At the end of January we had an internal event with the participation of several of our Eagles, which celebrated the history of the Company, remembering the past, our achievements and how our history helps us look towards the future of GOL.
Does the Covid-19 pandemic leave consequences or revitalize the company’s plans?
The pandemic is not over and, of course, it is still impacting all sectors of the economy. Ours is no different. It has undoubtedly been our greatest challenge in these 21 years and we have learned a lot from it. We believe that with the widespread vaccination of the population, we can already glimpse a real recovery not only of our sector, but of the economy as a whole.
Does the increase in domestic demand for air travel change GOL’s expansion plans?
There were months of demand dammed up by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic and it is natural, at a time when there is greater openness and the majority of the population is vaccinated, that there is an increase in demand. There is no reason for this fact to change GOL’s expansion plans, since many of the new routes are domestic. We will increase the capillarity of our network through regional expansion, growing rationally, especially where there are competitive advantages for our Company. An example was the recent inauguration of the routes between Congonhas (CGH) – Bonito (BYO) and Guarulhos (GRU) – Pelotas (PET). Three other GOL bases in Rio Grande do Sul will open in 2022 (Santa Maria, Santo Ângelo and Uruguaiana). We are completely focused on expanding our markets and moving more and more into the interior of Brazil, in addition to the gradual resumption of international destinations. We also seek to expand and retain corporate and leisure clients, considering the new profiles and post-pandemic markets such as the so-called “bleasure” that mixes leisure trips with work, a model promoted by the “office anywhere”.
In what essential points do the national airlines move together and united, to strengthen this modal, as a whole? How important is tariff freedom?
GOL is the result of tariff freedom and has always defended what promotes healthy competition, something that is of mutual interest to all companies in the sector. Balancing supply and demand is a key aspect of a sustainable aviation industry. We must attack the structural issue of costs -very affected by the dollar and the price of fuel, whose objective is to further democratize access to the plane- and work for an agenda with measures that have a positive impact on the fare and for the consumer.
What is the impact of digital technology on Gol’s operational equation: transport of people and cargo?
Expanding and improving technological services throughout the customer journey, whether in the purchase or in the service, is more than ever the focus of the Company, which even during the pandemic has invested heavily on this front, improving sales systems and service. GOL was the first airline in Brazil to use digital technology in an unprecedented way, with a business model that revolutionized the country’s aviation market, democratizing access to air transport. We were pioneers in launching the check-in service done entirely by cell phone (including through biometrics), the mobile geolocation service for Customers and a website with accessibility resources to serve people with visual and motor disabilities, in addition to recently implementing the application for communication via Libras on board and check-in via WhatsApp. We were also the first airline to offer in-flight Wi-Fi. We continue to invest in more modern systems and solutions that help us to improve and personalize the Customer’s experience more and more, from the search and choice of tickets to after-sales service and the loyalty program, passing through the most critical points such as customer service. customer, sales and sign up.
What is Gol’s investment policy in research on the behavior of leisure and business travellers?
Like all companies, we do our market and behavior research on a recurring basis. We do not reveal details of how they are done, since they are strategic for the business, but we have observed some changes in behavior directly related to the moment of the pandemic.
Does the retraction in travel and corporate events affect the marketing and sales strategies of the company?
The last two years we have seen a drop in corporate travel, but we have already seen, by 2022, with the advancement of vaccination and the resumption of face-to-face events, a greater demand for this type of travel and we believe that the demand it should be very close to pre-pandemic levels again. We have also seen a change in the profile of corporate travelers, many of whom adopt what we call “bleasure”, a mixture of business and pleasure, when they combine the same destination for a business trip, but at the same time they go with the family at leisure. It is also from the observation of these new behaviors that we outline the sales and marketing strategies for the coming months.
Does the direct commercialization of air services to the consumer make the role of operators and travel agencies secondary?
No, we don’t believe that. We believe that the consumer is the one who decides the best way to buy a ticket or plan a travel itinerary. Our role as a sector is to offer several channels so that the Client can choose the one that suits him best: the one that chooses to carry out the entire operation and investigation and the one that outsources this choice, especially in leisure travel. The important thing is that the Airlines are prepared to meet both demands, offering the best reservation services, whether for agencies or direct clients, since both are very important to us.
How do you analyze the tax burden on aviation supplies, especially fuel?
This is one of our main challenges and the one that impacts the consumer the most, since the high price of aviation fuel is one of the main causes of the increase in ticket prices. We work together with ABEAR to address this issue, as it is something that affects the entire sector.
What is Gol’s position on the Brazilian airport infrastructure and the ongoing privatization process?
I think that Brazil has good airports and that they have come a long way in the last 10 years. The private sector is more willing to make investments and those that have already been privatized present airlines with very interesting proposals to increase capacity and operational efficiency. This is not only welcome, it is desired by the country as a whole. The level of efficiency of the operation has a correlation with the cost. We see the stage very well.
Does the so-called ‘Cost Brazil’ hinder the resumption and expansion of GOL’s international routes?
The international recovery for GOL also considers aspects related to sanitary conditions in other countries and, consequently, the impact on demand. Our bases began to reactivate in November 2021, with flights to Montevideo, Punta Cana and Cancun. At the end of December we returned to Buenos Aires, this time at Aeroparque, the central airport of the Argentine capital, and in January we resumed a weekly flight between Belém and Paramaribo, in Suriname. All these reopenings were thought out very carefully, without haste, as well as the returns to Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Asunción, in April, and to the US, Orlando and Miami, in May. Regarding the operation to the US, GOL has already operated to the country with its partner American Airlines,
What are Gol’s commitments in the short, medium and long term in relation to ESG?
In April 2021, the Company announced its commitment to a net zero carbon balance by 2050, being the first in Brazil to adhere. Then, in June, GOL was the first company in Latin America to launch the possibility for its Clients to voluntarily offset the carbon footprint of their flights, an initiative developed in partnership with MOSS, one of the largest environmental carbon credit platforms in the world. . , working on forest conservation projects in the Amazon.
It is what we call “shared responsibility”: while GOL seeks definitive solutions to the impact that commercial aviation generates on the planet with the burning of fossil fuels, carbon compensation manages to mitigate the harmful effects of operations that cannot be stopped.
In September 2021, we launched the Recife-Fernando de Noronha-Recife route as the first 100% carbon neutral route in the country: in this case, the carbon offset generated by the trips is entirely donated to Clients and crew by GOL and MOSS , with the right to a certificate for Clients and Employees. A gift for the island that is the ecological sanctuary of Brazil. In December, the Congonhas-Bonito Carbon Neutral route was born, being the second route with 100% compensated flights.
To establish this challenging goal, which is to be an ESG Company and a benchmark in sustainable aviation in the regional market, GOL has been working for more than a decade on numerous issues related to sustainability in the ESG field. The Company’s investments in projects for the development of sustainable aviation fuels in Brazil are already a reality – and the definitive answer to the generation of greenhouse gases – and will account for part of the success with the commitment signed for 2050.
GOL is based on four pillars with a view to completely neutralizing carbon emissions by 2050:
development of new technologies for aircraft and engines (including the production of sustainable aviation fuels and biokerosene);
continuous operational improvements (airspace optimization, for example);
better use of infrastructure and logistics;
market-based measures. These pillars were defined by ICAO and ratified by IATA (International Air Transport Association).