On Monday this week, the day before the LABACE show opened at Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, Brazilian business aviation industry group ABAG held a conference at which Coronel Aviador Ary Rodrigues Bertolino, head of CGNA (Air Traffic Management Center), analyzed the organization’s role planning air traffic for the 2014 soccer World Cup (Copa do Mundo de Futebol).
Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport
Global aviation fuel supplier Air BP is on hand at LABACE (Booth 1008) to demonstrate its new containerized refueling system (CRS). Known as “the Eagle,” the system is a portable, self-contained unit that can be easily transported by road, rail or water to remote areas.
Brazilian business aviation faces a squeeze between official restrictions and unofficial competition, vying with airline traffic for limited slots at the country’s major airports and with illegal “pirate” air taxi services for customers. Hosting the World Cup soccer tournament at 12 host cities around the country in June and July served as a stress test of the country’s aviation infrastructure. Although no major problems occurred, many, including industry group ABAG, feel that business aviation was sacrificed for that apparent success–and that this does not bode well.
At 0300 UTC tomorrow, Brazil is opening registration for business aviation slots during the 2014 World Cup, which will take place from June 12 through July 13 at 12 cities across the country. Civil aviation administration agency ANAC also announced fines of up to $40,000 and even suspension of pilot certificates if commercial and general aviation flights don’t comply with the slot restrictions.
The wave of protests that has rocked Brazil since June has included opposition to government spending on airports, the blocking of airport access as a way to get attention, and also complaints by the aviation community about government failure to address its needs. In preparation for the 2014 soccer World Cup, stadiums have been built or renovated all over the country, and investments have been made in transportation infrastructure, including airports.
Brazilian service provider Colt Aviation has begun construction of a new $12 million FBO at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport. The 215,000-sq-ft facility will include a 5,300-sq-ft VIP lounge with a private entrance, meeting rooms, a 200-space car park and two hangars, one of them earmarked for maintenance. According to the company, construction is set to begin next month, and the new FBO will be ready by mid-year. Galeão is the second busiest airport in Brazil and has the South American nation’s longest runway, at more than 13,000 feet.
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.
A record 71 aircraft are expected for LABACE 2012 at São Paulo Congonhas Airport next week (August 15 to 17), but unlike last year those coming from overseas will have to stop elsewhere to clear customs, coming and going.
Brazilian tax, police and aviation authorities joined forces to seize nine business jets last week, and they have targeted 13 more aircraft. According to officials, Brazilians allegedly own and use the jets but registered them overseas to avoid Brazilian state and federal import taxes of nearly 35 percent. Foreign-registered airplanes can remain in Brazil for up to 60 days without paying import duties.