When Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff signed a decree in December last year permitting the private construction and operation of airports, it opened the way to major changes in the country’s airport infrastructure and operations, with São Paulo state as a primary launching pad.
In the race to open the country’s first private business aviation airport, the first governmental permission was issued July 25 to what is initially identified as Aeródromo Privado Rodoanel. Located in São Paulo, the airport will be only about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the existing Congonhas Airport and is expected to be ready for use as early as September 2014.
Another private business airport, Catarina Aeroporto Executivo was announced last year by major real estate developer JHSF in partnership with Francisco Lyra, entrepreneur and former president of Brazilian industry association ABAG (Associação Brasileira de Aviação Geral). Lyra told AIN that half the visitors to the exhibit at last year’s LABACE show were non-Brazilians interested in FBO and maintenance services, as well as options for hangar space.
Licenses should be issued for the Catarina airport and a major heliport, also in São Paulo, as well as a number of projects near Rio de Janeiro that are currently under study.
Besides the airports operated by the federal agency Infraero, the State of São Paulo operates its own network of 31 airports through the state-owned DAESP (Departamento Aeroviário do Estado de São Paulo, State of São Paulo Department of Aviation).
These include facilities in Jundiaí and Sorocoba, both close to the capital city and important to business aviation. In recent years, increased traffic and hangar space have helped these airports, traditional money losers, to begin turning a profit.
Cumbica and Viracopos airports, both of which serve São Paulo, have been under full private management since earlier this year.
DAESP superintendent Ricardo Rodrigues Barbosa Volpi told AIN that major projects under way at a number of the airports include extending the runway at upstate Ribeirão Preto Airport, about 350 miles north of São Paulo. He also said the state is looking to public/private partnerships to meet aviation needs, which are “growing at six percent a year.”