The government of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's southernmost state, has announced that GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (G3, Sao Paulo Congonhas) plans to launch six routes from its capital Porto Alegre. One of the prospective routes is to Rivera just over the border in Uruguay, which serves the 'bi-national' divided city of Rivera/Santana do Livramento.

The airline confirmed the announcement at a news conference at Santana do Livramento City Council on July 12, elaborating that the first of the six routes, connecting Porto Alegre with Passo Fundo, would commence on August 25, Brazil's G1 news site reported. The rest, linking the state capital with Rio Grande Regional, Bagé, Santa Rosa, RS, São Borja, and Rivera/Santana do Livramento, would start over the following two weeks.

The move follows two decrees signed by Governor Eduardo Leite on July 3, which aim to expand the spectrum of air travel in the region. Altering the State Programme for the Development of Regional Aviation (Programa de Desarrollo de la Aviación Regional del Estado, PDAR-RS), one of the decrees allows carriers to operate commercial contracts with third parties.

This allows Gol to bring in regional air taxi specialist TwoFlex Táxi Aéreo Inteligente (OWT, Jundiaí) to operate the routes with its nine-passenger Cessna (single turboprop) 208B Grand Caravans, of which it has a total fleet of eighteen, while offering its passengers the option to book connecting tickets via the gateway of Porto Alegre. GOL and TwoFlex announced a similar partnership covering a number of routes in northern Brazil and in the centre of the country earlier this year.

GOL already operates eight routes to Porto Alegre, but none are within the state of Rio Grande do Sul. They are from Sao Paulo Congonhas (64x weekly), Sao Paulo Guarulhos (40x weekly), Rio de Janeiro Int'l (38x weekly), Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont (24x weekly), Curitiba Int'l (21x weekly), Brasilia (19x weekly), Porto Seguro (3x weekly), and Caldas Novas (1x weekly), according to the ch-aviation capacities module.

The second of the two decrees foresees a lower tax rate on aircraft fuel from January 1, 2020, according to which Gol and Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AD, Sao Paulo Viracopos), which already operates within the state, have both announced that they intend to expand their southern Brazilian networks over the coming year.

Azul currently operates six regional routes with its ATR72-600 turboprops, linking Porto Alegre with Santa Maria, RS, Urugaiana, Pelotas, and Santo Ângelo, and from Campinas to both Caxias do Sul and Passo Fundo. According to local news reports, with the lower fuel tax, Azul, like GOL, also intends to launch routes from Porto Alegre to both Bagé and Santana do Livramento.