When GOL Linhas Aéreas began operation in 2001, maintenance was performed at Varig Engenharia de Manutenção and, later on, by TAP at its RIOgaleão and Porto Alegre bases. “However, with the growth of the fleet, GOL decided to build its own maintenance centers and started doing its checks internally,” explains Director of Maintenance Alberto Correnti. Now flying 120 Boeing 737NGs, the Brazilian carrier has two maintenance centers doing structural and systems checks.
In Minas Gerais State in the southeast of Brazil, GOL has what Correnti calls, “the most advanced Latin American aircraft maintenance center.” The center has three hangars, one for painting and two for checks and more complex work. Here GOL executes heavy airframe maintenance, preventive maintenance and painting. This center also has wheel, brake and interior workshops.
In addition, GOL also does maintenance in a fourth hangar, located in Congonhas Airport in São Paulo. “Congonhas serves for smaller checks and short-term maintenance, giving support to the daily operation,” Correnti says.
Heavy engine maintenance is outsourced. For example, in 2017 GOL extended its strategic partnership with Air France-KLM. AFI-KLM E&M had been selected to work with Delta TechOps to carry out maintenance on the CFM56-7s of GOL’s 737NGs.
GOL maintenance now has a staff of about 2,200 employees, including 1,600 technicians, support staff of 350 and 160 employees in workshops. About 650 employees work on heavy maintenance with the remainder supporting line maintenance performed at airports throughout Brazil.
Correnti is especially proud of the maintenance center in Minas Gerais. Its area of 147,000 square meters has three hangars and five workshops in a total built-up area of 17,300 square meters. There is hangar capacity for five production lines.
This center has now been certified by Brazil’s ANAC, FAA and EASA. In addition, GOLS has its maintenance training center there.
Once GOL was licensed to perform maintenance services on its fleet, it could also provide services to other airlines with same aircraft. So the center has been providing both line maintenance and hangar maintenance in Brazil for both Brazilian and foreign operators.
FAA certification for C checks, received in 2016, opened the possibility for GOL to expand as a service provider. This authorization allows the company to work on U.S.-flag aircraft, performing maintenance on 737NGs, 767s and Airbus 330s. And FAA certification for wheel-and-brake maintenance was received in 2015.
“For the next few years, we will keep an eye on innovations in aircraft maintenance,” Correnti says. “Since the beginning of our operations, we have not stopped investing in new technologies, in improvement of processes and training, making GOL a standard in the industry.”