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World Cup Brazil Flights May Be Cut Due to Weak Demand

May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Flights in Brazil during the World Cup may be cut because of weak demand for airline travel during the monthlong soccer tournament, the country’s aviation regulator said.

Sales on carriers including Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA amount to 21.2 percent of the more than 11.5 million available seats on domestic flights during the June 12-July 13 event, according to the regulator, known by the acronym Anac.

“We believe that companies will adjust their routes to adjust to demand,” Anac said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Anac’s numbers gave more specificity on so-called advance bookings than typically offered by airlines. While the share of occupied seats rises closer to the date of travel, Anac’s comments suggest the challenge for the industry. The world’s 20 largest airlines by traffic filled an average of 79 percent of their seats last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Prices for tickets have also fallen. Round-trip fares for the 56-minute flight between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s two biggest cities, on the Saturday before the July 13 final are available for 234 reais ($105.99) to 2,234 reais, based on flights for Gol and Tam Linhas Aereas SA. The range in January was 940 to 2,300 reais.

Anac said it wasn’t able to provide data from previous World Cups for comparison because the event is held only once every four years and rotates among countries.

In January, Tam President Claudia Sender said the Sao Paulo-based airline would invest more than 50 million reais to run hundreds of extra flights during the World Cup. Tam, a unit of Latam Airlines Group SA, said its fares will be “competitive and accessible.”

Anac announced 2,000 additional flights at the time to transport the estimated 600,000 foreign and 3 million domestic tourists to games in 12 cities across the country.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christiana Sciaudone in Sao Paulo at csciaudone@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net Molly Schuetz

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