LABACE Convention News

LABACE Opens with Calls for Expanding Business Aviation

 - August 30, 2016, 2:12 PM
The three-day 2016 LABACE show opened at São Paulo's Congonhas Airport on August 30. [Photo: Ian Sheppard]

Opening the 2016 LABACE show at São Paulo’s Congonhas Airport earlier today, Leonardo Fiuza, new chairman of Brazilian business aviation association ABAG, observed that everyone present, young or old, knows that, “We are facing a situation never seen before,” but suggested they remember the old saying, “Crisis always brings the opportunity for change.” He also thanked his predecessor, Eduardo Marson, for his two terms (four years) as head of the association. Among the elements of upheaval in the region, he frequently cited “this week’s happenings,” referring to the impeachment trial of president Dilma Rousseff in the senate, with the vote on her fate expected to take place before the sun rises tomorrow.

Fiuza observed the “hands extended” by Brazil’s Ministry of Transportation, its civil aviation agency ANAC, by airports company Infraero, and via the government’s calls for everyone to find new ways to boost the economy. He emphasized ABAG’s willingness to “contribute professionally to improve the environment for business,” and then spoke of fundamentals: “It’s a fact. The airplanes exist, they are all over Brazil, and they are not just statistics. We have the world’s second largest [business aviation] fleet.” He continued, “Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, and there’s a need to travel.”

Lastly, he brought up a traditional business aviation complaint: it is placed behind commercial aviation for airport slots. Bureaucrats, he said, too often feel “a business jet brings only one passenger who doesn’t even buy at the airport shops.” Fiuza suggested another perspective: “Of the 100 largest Brazilian companies, 62 have or use business aviation, and those companies are responsible for approximately 500,000 jobs. Think of this, airport managers!”

Dario Lopes, secretary of civil aviation, representing the Minister of Transportation, assured the audience, “The ministry understands the importance of general aviation, in all its segments,” and noted the connectivity that it provides. “Guarulhos, the country’s largest airport, [provided connections to] 30 Brazilian cities last year, while Campo de Marte [a business aviation airport] served 1,300.”

He also spoke of general aviation’s role in providing manpower for the entire aviation sector, and “the need to prepare for new solutions, such as fractional ownership.” He recognized reserving space at airports for hangars and FBOs as a possible way of serving business aviation, and the “donation of equipment to aero clubs, strengthening the centers of manpower training.”

Representing the governor of São Paulo was the secretary of social development, Floriano Pesaro, who noted, “Aviation is the fastest growing mode of transportation.” He spoke of the privatization of five of the state’s network of 26 airports, and called attention to the safety of aviation.