Gol exits the Lima market

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By Brendan Sobie

Brazil's Gol is further shrinking its international network with the elimination of all service to Peru.

The low-cost carrier says in a brief statement today that its last flight to the Peruvian capital Lima will operate on 17 June. According to Innovata, Gol currently operates one daily Boeing 737-800 flight to Peru on a Porto Alegre-Buenos Aires-Santiago-Lima routing.

While the Santiago-Lima leg will be terminated, Gol will continue to fly from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil to Santiago via Buenos Aires.

Gol previously served Lima from both Santiago as well as from its main hub in Sao Paulo. But its Sao Paulo-Lima service was dropped last year.

Once Peru is erased from the map next week, Gol will be left with only six countries in its international network - Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Over the last year Gol's network has shrunk significantly as all long-haul and some medium-haul services have been axed. Gol has instead been focusing on expanding its international offering by forging a series of new codeshares and interline agreements with foreign carriers.

Gol says the decision to drop Lima was made "to better adopt its route network".

The carrier has been facing stiff competition from Lan and TACA on the Santiago-Lima route. According to Innovata, Lan, which is based in Chile and has an affiliate in Peru, operates five daily non-stop flights on the route. TACA, which is based in El Salvador but has an affiliate in Peru, operates one daily flight on the route.

Gol began connecting Santiago with both Lima and Buenos Aires in 2006 as part of a bid to bolster its intra-Latin American network. Santiago-Lima is one of only a few fifth freedom routes operated by the carrier.

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