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Gol Linhas' (GOL) May Load Factor Rises Amid Woes in Brazil

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Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A.(GOL - Free Report) reported modest air traffic figures for May. Consolidated traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK), nudged up 0.7% to 2.75 billion owing to a 2.6% increase on the domestic front. However, international traffic declined 16.5%.

On a year-over-year basis, consolidated capacity (or available seat kilometers/ASKs) inched up 0.4% to 3.58 billion, primarily backed by 1.5% growth in domestic capacity. On the international front, capacity declined 9.2%.

Consolidated load factor (% of seats filled by passengers) at this Sao Paulo, Brazil-based carrier increased modestly to 76.8% in May as traffic growth outweighed capacity expansion. Domestically, load factor increased marginally but fell 5.9% percentage points to 68% internationally. This downturn can be attributed to decline in traffic, which was more than capacity contraction.

Weakness on the international front seems to have displeased investors. This is evident from the fact that the stock fell more than 5% on Jun 6 despite an improvement in overall traffic and load factor. It seems that the rise in oil prices has hampered international travel leading to the bleak scenario. Additionally, strikes and political uncertainty in Brazil might have discouraged travel to the nation, leading to a drastic fall in international load factor.

We remind investors that the truckers of Brazil started a strike on May 21, protesting against high diesel prices. The situation began to ease on May 27, following an agreement between representatives of the trucking industry and the government. The president of Brazil has given some concessions like no diesel tax for the next two months and minimized toll tax for trucks as well.

Despite the above disruptions, Gol Linhas performed exceedingly well and had to cancel only 12 of 7,275 scheduled flights during the May 21-May 31 period. As a result, the carrier’s passenger count increased 2.4% in the month.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Gol Linhas carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Transportation sector are GATX Corporation (GATX - Free Report) , SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW - Free Report) and Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. (EXPD - Free Report) . While GATX and SkyWest carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Expeditors sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of GATX, SkyWest and Expeditors have rallied more than 15%, 56% and 40%, respectively, in a year’s time.

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