The country has recovered 88.4% of its pre-pandemic traffic levels.

A LATAM aircraft.
Photo: Lukas Souza | Simple Flying.

Brazil received 18.3 million passengers in the first two months of the year, according to the most recent data released by the country’s Civil Aviation National Authority (ANAC). Led by LATAM Airlines, the South American country has recovered 88.4% of 2019’s traffic levels.

Recovery ongoing

Brazil began the year strong compared to 2021. The country has received 18.3 million passengers after strong performances from LATAM Airlines, GOL Linhas Aéreas, and Azul Linhas Aéreas, particularly in the domestic segment.

LATAM Brasil has had 5.7 million passengers this year so far. It holds a 31.19% market share. Behind LATAM, GOL posted 5.35 million passengers until February (a 29.19% share), while Azul carried 4.69 million passengers (a 25.59% share).

A GOL aircraft

Photo: Lukas Souza | Simple Flying.

In the domestic segment, Brazil has received 14.90 million passengers. That’s a 91% recovery versus pre-pandemic traffic levels. Both LATAM and Azul have completely recovered their pre-pandemic passenger numbers, while GOL remains below that (5.1 million in 2023 versus 5.9 million in 2019).

Internationally, Brazil had 3.42 million passengers in January and February 2023. It was led by LATAM Brasil (520,587), TAP Portugal (298,715), and GOL (245,795). Overall, the LATAM Airlines Group –including LAN Chile and LAN Peru– had 780,678 passengers in this period.

Compared versus pre-pandemic traffic levels, Brazil recovered 77% of the traffic levels. In 2019, the country received 4.44 million international travelers in the first two months.

LATAM’s strong performance

These two months were Brazil’s summer high season. Now, we should expect a decrease in the number of passengers. LATAM Airlines highlighted the period stating that it had a 13% increase in the number of travelers versus 2021.

An Azul aircraft

Photo: Lukas Souza | Simple Flying.

More efficient and competitive after a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, LATAM is now operating a record number of destinations across the South American country (54). It also has the largest number of international destinations served from Brazil, with 21, including eight in Europe (Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, London, Lisbon, Madrid, and Milan). The airline is set to restore its connectivity to Africa through its route Sao Paulo-Johannesburg, later this year.

Aline Mafra, LATAM Brasil’s Director of Sales and Marketing, said,

“It is very gratifying to know that LATAM’s efficiency made it possible to carry more than 6 million passengers on our flights in Brazil during the summer vacations. We have constantly been working to connect our customers more and more with Brazil and the world, and I am sure that many flew simply, quickly, and safely with us during this period.”

What’s next for the remainder of the year?

GOL Linhas Aéreas management is happy with the recovery so far. The airline’s CEO, Celso Ferrer recently said that travel demand is strong with bookings “performing very well” since the beginning of the year. In the final quarter of 2022, GOL managed to increase its yields by 45% versus 2019 levels, driven by robust travel demand, particularly among leisure and visiting friends and relatives traffic.

In terms of partnerships, 2023 will be a great year for the Brazilian top airlines. Through its Joint Venture Agreement with Delta Air Lines, LATAM will add new routes (at least one has been announced, Sao Paulo-Los Angeles). GOL is launching its Abra Group Holding with Avianca, a powerhouse with a bigger fleet than LATAM’s. GOL also has the competitive advantage of its partner American Airlines. Finally, Azul is a partner of United Airlines and JetBlue and has recently increased its capacity in long-haul flights to the United States.

What do you think about Brazil’s recovery so far? Let us know in the comments below.


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