Brazil airline Gol scraps 2015 profit target, trims fleet plan
SAO PAULO Nov 12 (Reuters) - Brazilian airline Gol Linhas Aereas cut its 2015 operational profit forecast to a loss and trimmed fleet plans through 2017 after a weak currency and meager demand triggered a heavy third-quarter loss.
Gol said in a late Wednesday filing that it expects to post a loss before interest and taxes equal of as much as 2 percent of revenue. Its previous target for the so-called EBIT margin was positive 2-5 percent.
In the face of a sharp economic recession and rising imported fuel and aircraft costs, Gol decided to receive just four of the 15 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft originally scheduled between 2016 and 2017.
The airline is also reworking its network, adding new Latin American destinations such as Havana while cutting back service to Florida on a seasonal basis, after a steep currency drop put trips to Disney World out of reach for many Brazilians.
Chief Executive Paulo Kakinoff said on an earnings call that Gol's international network would shrink 7-8 percent in the fourth quarter. Gol aims to reduce its domestic network 1 percent in 2015.
Kakinoff added that the airline had also trimmed its executive ranks and would hold back on filling empty jobs due to natural turnover in its workforce.
Gol has not reported a quarterly profit since the end of 2011, hit by fierce competition, flagging demand and the cost-inflating effects of the Brazilian currency's 30 percent drop this year to all-time lows.
The company reported a net loss of 2.134 billion reais ($564.55 million) in the third quarter, far worse than a 245 million reais loss a year earlier.
EBIT fell 94 percent to 9 million reais. The EBIT margin in the first nine months of the year fell to -1.2 percent from 4.6 percent in the same period of 2014.
($1 = 3.7800 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Priscila Jordao and Brad Haynes, additional reporting by Reese Ewing; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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