São Paulo-based LCC GOL reported a BRL378.2 million ($114 million) net profit for 2017, a 65.7% drop from BRL1.1 billion in 2016 net income, as the company paid BRL547 million in deferred income taxes during the year.

GOL’s full-year revenue totaled BRL10.6 billion, up 7.2% year-over-year (YOY) driven by a 3.6% increase in passenger traffic and 4.8% higher stage-lengths, despite a 7% rise in average airfares. Cargo and other revenue (including excess baggage fees) increased 16.2% related, GOL said, to improvements in Brazil’s economy seen in the latter half of the year.

Rising fuel prices contributed to a 3.7% rise in GOL’s CASK for the full year. GOL’s operating expenses were up 4.6% BRL9.6 billion as fuel expenses rose 7.1% YOY. However, maintenance materials and repairs expenses dropped 37.8% and labor expenses increased by only a modest 3.1% as the airline continued capacity control measures initiated in 2016 amid Brazil’s economic downturn.

In 2017, GOL’s total capacity increased just 0.8% to 46.7 billion ASKs. With traffic totaling 37.2 billion RPKs, load factor for the year reached 79.7%, up 2.2 points YOY.

The company reported BRL990 million in operating income for the year, up 42.1% YOY; GOL’s operating margin for the year was 9.4%, up 2.3 points.

As of Dec. 31, 2017, GOL was operating 121 Boeing 737-NG aircraft (92 737-800s and 27 737-700s). The company has 120 737 MAX 8s on order for fleet renewal by 2028, the first of which is expected to be delivered in July 2018.

GOL CEO Paulo Kakinoff said the incorporation of the new 737 MAX 8s in the second half of 2018 will allow GOL to offer nonstop flights from Brazil to any destination in Latin America as well as destinations in Florida. GOL began selling tickets in January to its first US destinations, Miami and Orlando. “The new service will be flown by our new [MAX 8s] and will start Nov. 4 with departures from Brasilia and Fortaleza, cities chosen for their privileged geographic locations and connectivity with other GOL markets,” Kakinoff said.

Looking ahead, GOL is projecting an operating (EBIT) margin of approximately 11% for full-year 2018 and a preliminary EBIT margin guidance of about 13% for 2019. Total net revenues for 2018 are forecast at about BRL11 billion; for 2019 net revenues are forecast about BRL12 billion. 2018 capacity growth is forecast at between 1%-3%; for 2019, GOL is projecting capacity growth between 5%-10%. International capacity growth is forecast at between 7%-10% in 2018, and 30%-40% in 2019.

Mark Nensel mark.nensel@informa.com