Before the naysayers look askance at business aviation in Latin America and suggest that recent years of growth were something of an anomaly, they might consider the recent Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil, a show that can be described only as a resounding success.
Deliveries of both jets and turboprops were up again in the first half of this year, according to second-quarter numbers released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
Said by some to be flat on the canvas and awaiting only the referee’s count, the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE) staged a rather remarkable recovery last month, playing to a record number of attendees and signing exhibitors who were demanding more space next year before the show ended.
A week after the tragedy in Brazil that killed nearly 200 people when a TAM Linhas Aereas A320 went off the end of the runway at Congonhas airport in São Paulo, business aviation operators are reflecting on the safety of international operations, specifically in Brazil.
Aircraft-maintenance company SR Technics (SRT) has become exclusive component-services provider for all First Choice Airways’ Airbus and Boeing aircraft, following conclusion of a five-year “integrated component solutions” agreement covering the carrier’s seven Airbus A320s.
Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing (TAM) of Tbilisi, Georgia, in the CIS, in early January terminated its agreement with Maverick Jets of Melbourne, Fla., to certify and manufacture the Maverick Jets Leader, a twin-engine, kit-built very light jet. As recently as the Dubai Air Show in early December, TAM displayed a photograph of the Leader and included it in its sales material. Dr.
A Fokker 100 flown by Air France subsidiary Régional Compagnie Aérienne Européenne crashed immediately after takeoff on January 25 in Pau, southwest France. All four crewmembers and 50 passengers in the 100-seat jet evacuated safely, but one person on the ground was killed. The accident occurred at 11:28 a.m. local time, as the aircraft was departing for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
In early January, after years of controversy, the Brazilian government took delivery of a new head-of-state aircraft that will be used primarily to carry President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, his cabinet members and senior officials. The $56.7 million Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ), named Santos Dumont after Brazil’s aviation pioneer, is replacing a geriatric Boeing 707 nicknamed Sucatão (the Portuguese term for “big heap of scrap metal”).
After returning to the business aviation industry in 2003, OceanAir Taxi Aeréo has expanded rapidly and now aspires to become one of the industry’s most important players in Brazil, with help in part from its partnership with Bombardier. “We spent much of last year getting organized, but we are now looking to this year as a year of consolidating our operations,” company director José Eduardo Brandão told AIN.
After a difficult year in 2003, Brazil’s largest executive charter company, TAM Taxi Aéreo Marília, saw better times last year, when its revenues increased to Real 105 million ($39.4 million)–up 15 percent from the previous year–with help from a recovery in the local economy. The increase in revenues was a result of growing demand on all fronts, including maintenance, aircraft sales and executive charter.