- GOL Linhas Aéreas has requested permission to operate a fifth freedom route from São Paulo to Bogota and Buenos Aires.
- The route would be operated on GOL’s Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet with daily frequencies.
- This would be GOL’s first fifth freedom route and could help strengthen regional connectivity between Colombia and Argentina.
The Brazilian carrier GOL Linhas Aéreas has requested permission to operate a fifth freedom route departing from São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) to Bogota International Airport (BOG) in Colombia and then continuing to Buenos Aires Ezeiza International (EZE) in Argentina.
A fifth freedom route requested
Earlier this month, GOL Linhas Aéreas requested Colombia’s civil aviation authority (Aerocivil) permission to operate a fifth freedom route from Sao Paulo to Bogota and Buenos Aires.
This route would have daily frequencies and would be operated onboard the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet. GOL has over 30 MAX 8s and expects to receive more as it undertakes a fleet renovation process. The airline’s MAX 8 aircraft have the capacity to carry 176 passengers in a two-class configuration (20 premium economy seats and 156 standard economy seats).
Colombia’s Aerocivil is currently reviewing GOL’s request and has not yet authorized the route, which would be pretty interesting. This would be GOL’s first and only fifth freedom route, as it mainly operates domestic services in Brazil and a few select routes to international destinations in the region (serving countries such as Uruguay, Argentina, the United States, Paraguay, and Bolivia).
A quick view of the fifth freedom
In aviation, there is a set of commercial aviation rights that grant a country’s airlines the privilege to enter and land in another country’s airspace. These are most commonly known as freedoms of the air. In theory, there are nine freedoms of the air, although only the first five are widely used. The remaining four are seen as damaging to a country’s aviation industry, and select examples can be found in some countries with certain characteristics.
Photo: Kevin Porter/Shutterstock.
The fifth freedom is the right to fly between two foreign countries on a flight originating or ending in one’s own country. GOL’s Sao Paulo-Bogota-Buenos Aires route will do exactly that.
There are plenty of fifth freedom routes all over the world, with a few of them taking place in Latin America, such as the Emirates Dubai-Barcelona Mexico City route or Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa-Sao Paulo-Buenos Aires service.
While not publicly announced, this route could be related to GOL and Avianca’s Abra Group Limited. This holding company, announced in 2022, is bringing Avianca and GOL’s iconic brands under a single group, anchoring a pan-Latin American network of airlines.
GOL’s route request will be the airline’s entrance to the Colombian market. It would also help strengthen the regional connectivity between Colombia and Argentina. There are currently 21 weekly flights between Bogota and Buenos Aires (the only route available between both countries), operated by Avianca (14) and Aerolíneas Argentinas (seven). However, last year, there were eight additional flights operated by Viva Air, an ultra-low-cost carrier that ceased operations in February 2023 and that could have been a part of the Abra Group had it not gone bankrupt.
GOL’s requested fifth freedom route would look to take over this particular share left by Viva Air a few months ago.
What do you think about this fifth freedom route requested by GOL Linhas Aéreas? Let us know in the comments below.