10th LABACE Show Signals Brazilian Bizav’s Coming of Age

 - August 3, 2013, 3:55 AM
The LABACE show in Brazil is now in its 10th year, and this year’s event at São Paulo Congonhas Airport will serve as a barometer for the vitality of business aviation in the region. (Photo: Kirby J. Harrison)

Brazil put the B in BRIC, the acronym demarcating what have come to be perceived as the world’s most promising emerging markets: Brazil, Russia, India and China. And on this basis alone, there would seem to be a strong case for establishing the now decade-old Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE) in São Paulo, Brazil.

This year’s 10th LABACE show (August 14 to 16) should provide a clear indication of how business aviation is taking off in one of Latin America’s key economies. However, it comes at a time when Brazil’s recently rapid rate of climb has appeared to falter somewhat, partly due to the turbulence that is fueling inflation.

The wider economic situation in Latin America is yet more complex, although overall there remain excellent growth prospects for business aviation, as there do in Brazil, where the country’s continuing oil and gas boom is a key driver of demand. Next year’s soccer World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro should also provide further boosts to the sector.

According to Ricardo Nogueira, executive director of Brazilian industry group ABAG, business aircraft deliveries in Latin America increased by 14 percent last year. He contrasted this with the relative stagnation in demand in the U.S. and Europe.

Show organizer ABAG expects this year’s LABACE at least to match the 16,000 visitors seen at last year’s event. As of press time, there were still unoccupied booths at the Congonhas Airport site, but organizers expressed confidence that they will sell out and match last year’s tally of approximately 190 exhibitors and 70 aircraft on static display.

Nogueira indicated that ABAG is committed to keeping the event at the airport, which is the main business aviation gateway to the sprawling city of São Paulo. In late June, ABAG executive director Marcelo Guaranys confirmed that Brazilian civil aviation administration ANAC has no intention of seeking to exclude business aviation from Congonhas, as had been reported in some circles.

Prominent on the early exhibitor list were business aircraft makers Boeing Business Jets, Bombardier, Cirrus, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream, Nextant and Pilatus. Beechcraft and Cessna will be represented by their respective Brazilian distributors, Lider Aviação and TAM. AgustaWestland will be promoting its growing line of products in a country that is showing a huge appetite for rotorcraft, and rival Eurocopter will be represented by its Brazilian distributor Helibras.

LABACE is unlikely to be the stage for major new product announcements, given that the annual NBAA show in Las Vegas will be just two months away. However, further sales announcements in such a promising market are probable and the exhibitor profile makes it clear that international service providers such as completions centers, MROs, flight planners and others are all vying to get a piece of the action in South America.

The structure of the show is markedly different from that of comparable events in North America and Europe. The LABACE exhibits do not open until noon each day, but remain open until 8 p.m. (apart from August 16, when it’s 7 p.m.).

There is the usual busy schedule of informational sessions, including Bombardier’s Safety Standdown (see box) and IS-BAO workshops. During the morning of August 15, the Business Aviation in Latin America conference will address topics relating to aircraft ownership and operations, including finance and leasing, valuations, the Cape Town Convention, the aerospace supply chain, aviation system development in Latin America and tackling the region’s pilot shortage through training.

Debates in the opening general session on the opening day of LABACE will be dominated by the many issues and limitations confronted by Brazil’s ambitious bizav community. Much work remains to be done in developing and permitting access to airport infrastructure. According to ABAG, only 130 of some 5,500 Brazilian cities are connected by airline service and yet the vast country has more than 3,000 airfields.

The industry and its customers also face unwelcome headaches relating to taxation policies and rules covering charter operations. Other problems include bureaucracy and delays associated with the importation of equipment and parts.

ABAG is taking the lobbying lead on these issues. At the show it will publish the 3rd edition of its annual Brazilian General Aviation Yearbook. This is expected to provide concrete evidence of business aviation’s growth in the country.

Safety Standdown Heads South Again

Bombardier’s Safety Standdown seminar will return to São Paulo for the fourth time and will be staged at the Grand Hyatt Hotel just ahead of this year’s LABACE show on August 12 and 13. Registration is now open at www.safetystanddown.com.

The topics for this year’s Latin American Standdown will include:

• Introduction to Safety Standdown (Puja Mahajan, flight operations, Bombardier Business Aircraft)

• International flight considerations and flight planning (presented by Bombardier Business Aircraft flight operations demonstration pilots)

• Aircraft performance–is it legal, is it safe, is it smart? (Dan Boedigheimer, Ph.D.)

• Contemporary cockpit resource management (Pat Dailly of Convergent Performance)

• Cold-weather operations and high-elevation operations (Bombardier demonstration pilots)

• Team approach to safety management systems (Russ Hellstern)

• How much safety do you need? A bottom-up look at what you have, what you need and how to fix the difference. (Dr Tony Kern of Convergent Performance)

• Flight Discipline (Pat Dailly of Convergent Performance)

• Immediate action required–can we reverse the trend in runway safety events? (Jason Taussig, training supervisor at Denver International Airport)

•The healthy pilot–coping with stresses in aviation. (Associate Professor Glenn Harmon, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)

The safety theme will continue immediately after the LABACE show, with Brazilian accident investigation agency Cenipa organizing a special symposium at the Hotel Transamerica on August 17. Topics to be covered will include criminal liability in air accidents, safety culture and training, the role of Brazil’s civil aviation administration ANAC, human factors, manufacturers’ perspective on safety and a variety of case studies. Also participating will be Embraer, the Aeronautical Technological Institute, the Department of Airspace Control and ICAO.