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Brazil's Gol says domestic air travel outlook improving, aims to raise $563 million

The logo of Brazilian airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA is seen inside an airplane at Augusto Severo International Airport in Natal

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian airline Gol Linhas Aereas said there was an improvement in domestic ticket sales in May, driven by advances in Brazil's COVID-19 vaccination program.

"The rise in ticket sales in May, combined with other initiatives, are paving the way for significant improvements in this recovery phase," Gol said on Wednesday in a securities filing.

Gol warned that although immunizations are helping air travel in Brazil, there is still uncertainty related to the health crisis.

Gol forecasts an 81% occupancy rate in the second quarter, up from 79% previously. Recurring costs are also expected to be 40% below from the second quarter last year, an improvement from a fall of 27% forecast before.

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By the end of this quarter, Gol said it will have raised almost 3 billion reais ($563 million) in new capital through various transactions.

Gol expects Brazil's gross domestic product to grow by 8.8% in the second quarter and by a preliminary 2.3% in the second half of 2021, according to the filing.

It also expects average domestic routes to grow from 114 in the current quarter to a preliminary 159 in the second half of 2021.

($1 = 5.3281 reais)

(Reporting by Ana Mano, editing by Louise Heavens)