Gol, Brazil's second-largest airline, said Friday that it is getting rid of its recently acquired WebJet unit and laying off 850 employees.
Gol said in a regulatory filing that it will cancel all Webjet flights as a first step in the process of eliminating the brand.
"WebJet customers and passengers will be fully attended by Gol and will have their flights guaranteed, although it will be Gol from this date forward that will be responsible for all air transport services and for attending to those passengers," the filing said.
The low-cost airline said the elimination of WebJet will entail the dismissal of 850 employees, while roughly 600 others will be absorbed into Gol's staff.
WebJet had nearly 1,500 employees before it was acquired for 70 million reais ($35 million) in a deal that closed in October 2011. Gol also agreed to assume nearly $100 million of its rival's debt.
The budget unit needed to be shut down because it was operating a fleet of aging Boeing 737-300 aircraft that are fuel-inefficient and technologically outdated, Gol said.
The airline said it would return 20 Boeing 737-300s leased by WebJet by the end of the first quarter of 2013.
Gol was Brazil's second-largest airline in September with a 33.55 share of the domestic market, trailing TAM's 40.81 percent share, according to National Civil Aviation Agency figures. EFE