Clearing hurdles was as much a challenge for aircraft and crews attending LABACE 2012 was it was for athletes at the recent Summer Olympics in London.
An on-again/off-again customs strike bedeviled the arrival of jets en route to the show and left operators scrambling to find a place and time to enter Brazil en route to São Paulo Congonhas Airport where the business aviation show is being held this week.
“Customs inspectors worked only Monday and Friday last week,” said Bruno Strippoli of Fiorde Logistica Internacional handling services. “We had the same problem with shipments for the book fair [and] airplanes are even more difficult. They have more parts, for example, and the environmental agency Ibama has to sign off because of the rubber in the tires.”
Strippolo said all these details are usually handled ahead of time, but the strike complicated the process.
A Cabo Frio Airport representative told AIN that the fleet of three Gulfstreams en route to LABACE was expected last Thursday, six days before the opening of the show. They finally arrived the day before the show opened. Another aircraft came through the airport Foz do Iguacu, an hour-and-half flight from São Paulo near the border with Paraguay. Worried that they might not arrive on time, some of the passengers completed the trip by commercial airline.
The ACJ319 belonging to Airbus was the last airplane to arrive, rolling in at about 7:30 p.m. the night before the show opened.
The cramped ramp space at LABACE means a late jet may be blocked from its expected parking spot. But in the end, “They all arrived here in time and we have no holes in the static display,” boasted Ricardo Nogueira of show organizer Abag, the Brazilian business aircraft association.