Brazilian carrier GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A. is considering opening a new route between Brazil and Nigeria.
GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes ‒ which claims it is the largest low-cost, low-fare airline in Latin America ‒ says the new flight would be operated by aircraft from its existing fleet of Boeing 737NG single-aisle jets.
The airline has not indicated what routes it is considering but it appears likely that Lagos would be the destination in Nigeria, as the major commercial center in Africa’s most populous nation.
From Lagos, the shortest great-circle distance to Rio de Janeiro is 3,740 statute miles, assuming 180-minute ETOPS capability and a cruise speed of 400 knots (kt).
The shortest great-circle distance from Lagos to São Paulo is 3,945 miles, using the same assumptions.
With required fuel reserves, these distances might be too long for non-stop flights with Boeing 737NG jets if significant headwinds were present on either the eastbound or (more likely) the westbound sector.
However, the closest major Brazilian city from Lagos is Natal, which is 2,797 miles from Nigeria’s commercial center. Recife is almost as close, at 2,825 miles.
Both these distances, which are well within the full-payload range of unmodified Boeing 737-700s and 737-800s, imply a sector duration of a little over six hours on the westbound leg, assuming an average cruise speed of 400 knots.
According to GOL, if it decides to go ahead with a transatlantic service to Nigeria, it will make an announcement to the stock market.
GOL operates around 970 daily flights to 65 destinations in 10 countries in South America, Caribbean and the United States under the GOL and VARIG brands, using a fleet of Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft.
The carrier’s SMILES loyalty program allows members to accumulate miles and redeem tickets to more than 560 locations around the world, via flights with foreign partner airlines.
GOL also operates Gollog, a logistics service which ships cargo and packages to and from more than 3,500 towns and cities in Brazil and eight abroad.