The fifth Brazil-Canada MRO Technology Seminar, and first Canada-Latin America MRO Technology Seminar, was held at the LABACE show this week. Delayed by rain, it began with Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner Louis-Pierre Edmond, in Portuguese, offering “thanks to those who maintain the safety of our aircraft and carry us and our families.” He recalled the long aviation relationship between Canada and Brazil, and then gave numbers on the importance of the MRO industry to Canada–some $4 billion a year in revenue and more tan 17,000 jobs for engineers.
The audience, reduced by the weather from the usual capacity crowd, awaited presentations from various LABACE exhibitors: Bombardier, CAE, Vector Aerospace, Viking Air, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rockwell-Collins, Heli-One, and more Canadian and local companies.
A panel discussion on “The Role of Airports for the MRO Industry” included Gol Airlines’ maintenance base general manager, the manager of the São Paulo state airports of Araraquara and São Carlos, the latter home to the TAM airline maintenance base, as well as Standard Aero and C>Fly Aviation, partner in the still-unfinished Catarina airport project.
Before the presentation, Juul Heijblom of Heli-One, which has bases in Cabo Frio and Macae serving the offshore oil-and-gas market, shared observations on the impact of the recession: “Oil-and-gas has had a reduction of more than half in flight hours in the last two years. I’d risk saying that hours are down 60-70 percent.” However, he did note that the cause is not solely the recession; the temporary grounding of Airbus Helicopters EC225/H225 Super Pumas being another factor.
Moises Bentivoglio, director of sales and marketing for Vancouver-based Pacific Avionics and Instruments, predicted that for the Brazilian economy there is “hope for stabilization in 2017,” with the economy beginning to “creep up” again in 2018. He took a similar view for most of Latin America, though Mexico might recover sooner, he said, in mid-2017.