Helibras has announced the opening of a new customer support center (CSC) at Atibaia, near the three main airfields of São Paulo. The facility forms part of Eurocopter’s global network and mirrors those established by the company in Hong Kong, Dallas and Marignane (France). Some 75 percent of the Brazilian Eurocopter/Helibras fleet is based in the southeast of Brazil.
Plans to develop São Paulo’s first privately owned business aviation airport appear to have hit a roadblock, with local authorities recently refusing a construction permit for Aerodromo Privado Rodoanel (Beltway Private Airport), despite the airport’s obtaining Brazil federal government approval on July 25. The local authorities have rejected the airport on the grounds that the project is not part of the city’s master development plan and because of concerns about a nearby reservoir.
Helicopter service, support and manufacturing specialist Helibras (Helicópteros do Brasil) recently received authorization from France’s DGAC aviation authority to produce the Eurocopter EC225 in Brazil.
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.
Gulfstream Aerospace has appointed Luiz Sandler as its new regional vice president of sales for South America. He is replacing Bill Arrazola, who recently retired. His sales territory spans Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay.
Since 2007, Sandler served as sales director with International Jet Traders, which is Gulfstream’s sales representative for Brazil. Before that he was Embraer’s regional sales manager for Latin America.
At the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) Show, Embraer announced a new customer for the EMB-314 Super Tucano. The Senegalese Air Force signed a contract for three aircraft and in-country training of pilots and mechanics by Embraer. Senegal will use the aircraft for border surveillance and internal security. The deal takes the number of the type ordered to 210.
Embraer Defense and Security and AEL Systems, the Brazilian subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems, signed an agreement to accept unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) developer Avibras as a shareholder in their UAS-focused joint venture, Harpia Systems.
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has a corporate culture that emphasizes giving back, and some 1,600 graduates of its Colégio Embraer Juarez Wanderley, in São Jose dos Campos, are evidence that the industry–and the company–benefit from the effort. With that in mind, the company is opening its second school, in Botucatu.
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.
Growth in commercial and business aviation over the past decade has saturated Brazil’s hub airports, leaving both commercial airlines and business aviation looking for alternatives. Now, it appears a solution is in the offing.