Five years ago, Delta Air Lines guaranteed a loan for its Brazilian partner Gol. This could now become a burden for the American airline.
Gol Boeing 737 in São Paulo.
Delta Air Lines is looking for partners around the world: In recent years, the American legacy carrier has built up a global network of holdings with stakes in Aeromexico, Republic Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air France-KLM, Korean Air and China Eastern. It also held a nine per cent in the Brazilian low-cost carrier Gol.
But after Delta announced its major investment into Chilean-Brazilian Latam in autumn 2019, it withdrew its investment from Gol. Nevertheless, the Brazilian budget airline could become a burden for Delta, as news agency Reuters reports. According to the report, Gol has to re-pay loans amounting to 300 million US dollars by Monday (August 31). If the airline is not able to do so, Delta would have to step in.
Not a good outlook for Gol
The reason for this dates back to July 2015, when Delta not only invested 56 million dollars in new shares of Gol. It also guaranteed loans of up to US $300 million for the Brazilian carrier. Delta explained at the time that this would deepen the existing partnership and improve Gol’s financial situation and liquidity.
It is uncertain whether Gol will be able to repay its debt itself. The finance rating agency Fitch had downgraded the airline in mid-August, stating that this reflected «the continuing weakness of demand for air travel in Brazil, the high degree of uncertainty over the timing of an effective recovery and Gol’s limited financial flexibility to raise additional funding».
Delta has no money left
But just as all airlines around the world, Delta is also affected by the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. In the second quarter it posted a loss of almost four billion US dollars. After state aid and included conditions had so far prevented major layoffs at the airline, 1,900 pilots now have to fear for their jobs.