TAM has big plans for little jets

 - September 12, 2006, 10:24 AM

Brazilian charter operator Taxi Aereo Marila (TAM) believes the future of business aviation in Brazil includes very light jets (VLJs), and lots of them.

According to TAM president Rui Aquino, the São Paulo-based company has encountered a strong demand for new aircraft, particularly light jets.

TAM has 24 order positions for the five-passenger Cessna Mustang, which is scheduled to be certified during this year’s fourth quarter. The Brazilian company expects to deliver seven Mustangs next year and believes that sales will be even stronger after the arrival of the first aircraft. “Our main concern is delivery times,” said Aquino. “There are few aircraft available for delivery in 2007.

“This is a great aircraft for Brazil; it can fly 1,000 miles and cover all the key areas of the country.” He added that VLJs are likely to be the greatest impetus for growth in the business aviation market in Brazil in coming years. “Flying is the quickest and most efficient way to cover ground in Brazil, and more business people are coming to realize the importance of having their own aircraft,” he explained.

In general terms, TAM has an optimistic view of business aviation in Brazil, expecting to sell 15 helicopters, seven Cessna Caravans and 10 business jets this year.

He also noted that the company plans to expand its maintenance and service facility
at Jundiaí Airport. “We were hoping to see strong growth in single-engine aircraft maintenance, but demand for jet [maintenance] has been higher than expected.”