September 1, 2006
Decades of transporting passengers by bus across Brazil, which is as big as the continental US, inspired the De Oliveira family to bring their customers to the next level air travel. When their airline, Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, took to the skies in January 2001, there were plenty of naysayers. The Internet bubble had just burst, and Brazilian airlines were hitting heavy turbulence. "Now it's much easier to say we started at the right time and with the right people," reflects Constantino de Oliveira Júnior, Gol's chief executive.
At the time of Gol's launch, the family's privately held bus business was moving 460 million people a year, mostly on short hauls like urban
After more than five years on the runway, Brazilian no-frills airline Gol is still inspiring imitators in Latin America.