Coming off a successful 2011 show, organizers of the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE) are anticipating a record for this year’s show in São Paulo, Brazil, from August 15 to 17.
“We’re expecting a 15-percent increase in attendance,” said Eduardo Marson, chairman of the Associação Brasileira de Aviação Geral (Abag). He added that, as of May, 70 percent of the exhibit space was already sold “and we’re confident we will sell 100 percent.” If the space available sells out, including an additional 30 percent this year, the event will easily break last year’s record of 170 exhibitors.
The aircraft static exhibit last year was graced by the largest airplane to attend to date, an Airbus ACJ318 on loan from Zurich-based charter operator Fly Comlux. This year, Abag had hoped to welcome a BBJ, but Boeing has no plans to exhibit aircraft at the show.
Last year there were 67 aircraft on static display, 12 more than in 2010, and with approximately 30 percent more ramp space available this year that total should take a healthy jump.
The passage of 15,420 visitors through the gate at Congonhas Airport last year surpassed expectations as the cost of admission had been bumped from $R56 ($56) in 2010 to $R150 ($93) in 2011. This year, general admission has been raised to $R200 (currently $96; the exchange rate has shifted significantly since 2010). Abag also made another shift this year, to a Wednesday-to-Friday schedule from Thursday-to-Saturday last year. Nevertheless, Marson said the association is hoping for a 15-percent increase at the gate, a goal he believes is realistic.
Among the most likely subjects for discussion at the opening general meeting will be efforts by business and private aviation in Brazil to gain greater recognition and greater access, especially with the soccer World Cup to be held in São Paulo in 2014 and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Marson said that the keynote speakers at the opening session will include a representative from England who will discuss the challenges that business aviation faced during the London Summer Olympics, scheduled to close just four days before the opening of LABACE.
To be honored at LABACE is Fernando de Arruda Botelho, an aviator and long-time supporter of aviation in Brazil. Botelho died on April 13 in the crash of a restored North American T-28, along with fellow pilot Sergio Luis Robattino.
One of Botelho’s last major projects was the completion and test flight of a replica of Brazilian aviation pioneer Santos Dumont’s Demoiselle, a monoplane that in 1908 became the world’s first series production airplane.
For addition information on LABACE 2012, visit the Abag website, www.abag.org.br.