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Sao Paulo, Brazil - South American budget carrier Gol has reached an agreement with Boeing to cancel an order for 34 737 MAX 8 jets more than a year grounding of the type.

The airline now has 95 aircraft on order, down from its 129 previously. Brazilian low-cost is an all Boeing 737 operator with 27 Boeing 737-700 and 101 Boeing 737-800 in the fleet.

“Gol remains fully committed to the 737 Max as the core of its fleet and this agreement further enhances our successful long-term partnership with Boeing,”

said chief executive Paulo Kakinoff.

Gol had to take its seven 737 Max aircraft out of its schedule after the type was grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people altogether. The aircraft has been grounded by global regulators in March 2019 and it is not clear when it will be recertificated.

Brazil’s shutdown in mid-March of virtually all air traffic as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, set Gol on a course to design what it hopes will be a break-even cash-flow operation that would carry it through the next 90 days and beyond. Under the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency’s “essential network” plan, Gol along with Azul and LATAM Airlines guaranteed that they would provide only the minimum service necessary to ensure that all 27 state capitals and 19 other large cities will remain accessible by air during the coronavirus crisis.

Gol, which had been flying 750 flights per day before the crisis, is now down to about 50 flights per day. It is only operating 9 of its 130-strong Boeing 737NG fleet according to Cirium fleets data.

Earlier in the day, Boeing said it removed 313 aircraft from its backlog in March due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, accounting adjustments, and 150 737 Max cancellations, including the 34 terminations by Gol, five by Czech carrier Smartwings and 36 from undisclosed customers. An additional 75 aircraft are covered by a previously announced cancellation from lessor Avolon.
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