February 28, 2019 / 11:53 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil airline Gol posts heavy 2018 loss

(Adds details from securities filing, context)

SAO PAULO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Brazil's largest airline, Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes, suffered a loss of 1.1 billion reais in 2018, the company said on Thursday, though it generated net income of 580 million reais ($155.7 million) in the final quarter.

Losses were at the higher end of what was expected. Earlier this year, Gol told investors that losses could come in as much as 63 percent higher than previously forecast for the year, reaching up to $1.80 per share traded in the New York Stock Exchange. In the end losses came at $1.81 per share.

The year has been difficult for Latin American airlines, as they battled weak emerging market currencies as well as high oil prices that only came down toward the tail end of the year.

The airline is now forecasting 2019 will be a turnaround year and increased its expected earnings per share by 8 percent to between $1.3 and $1.5 per share.

Gol is the dominant airline in the Brazilian domestic market, followed by Chile's LATAM Airlines

$1 = 3.7255 reais Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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