LABACE Convention News

Pilatus Sales Buck Trend in Latin America

 - August 15, 2017, 3:06 PM
Setting its sights beyond Brazil’s borders, Pilatus has found success with sales of its PC-12 turboprop single. Its PC-24 jet promises to be even more popular once it’s certified.

The exclusive Pilatus sales agent for South and Central America, Synerjet, has achieved numerous sales over the past two years in the Latin American market since it broadened its focus beyond Brazil. Economic confidence has slumped before and since the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff last August, at the time of LABACE 2016.

At that show, Pilatus, in fact, sold two aircraft, one of which is in the LABACE 2017 static display having been delivered to CBAir, which last month merged with Global Aviation to form a new company, ICON Aviation.

José Eduardo Brandão, Synerjet general director, told AIN at the show that “our first intention was to find markets other than Brazil, which was in a crisis; the market stopped completely. We spent a whole year without selling any aircraft at all.”

But with the new strategy, Synerjet has had considerable success. “We are succeeding and we have sold the first PC-12s in countries such as Paraguay, Colombia, Panama and Chile in the last two years. Nowadays we have five or six PC-12s flying in Chile and in Colombia the second PC-12 will be delivered next month.” He said the company also sold a PC-12 at this year’s LABACE to a customer from Costa Rica, “the first ever sold there,” a sale that follows up last year’s success at the Congonhas event.

The PC-12 fleet in Latin America now totals approximately 50 aircraft, although most are still in Brazil. Synerjet “recently sold five PC-12s in Brazil—to several different operators,” suggesting that the market in the nation may be less in crisis than it once was. (Brandão admitted, “We had to reduce the price a bit.)

“Brazil has suffered a lot recently but the economy is much better than last year; currency is not a problem now, the rate is favorable, so importing parts is not a problem.”

To underline its push into the wider Latam market, Synerjet has opened offices in Panama and Ecuador. Its main office is still in São Paulo “but the Bogota office is getting stronger and stronger,” Brandão noted. It also has a partner in Santiago, Chile, AeroCardal, which “is a huge FBO operator there, operates PC-12s and is our authorized service provider there.” Its other ASCs are at Sorocaba, and in Medelin, Colombia.

The company is also now the distributor for Cirrus in Latin America, other than Brazil. “We now distribute for Cirrus in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua,” Brandão said, adding that the Cirrus is the ideal aircraft to bring new clients into aviation, especially young business owners.

These may later upgrade to the PC-12, he believes. “The PC-12 offers an affordable aircraft that can easily replace small-to-medium sized jets, turboprops, and even helicopters. It is versatile and extremely low cost with a very good range—like São Paulo to Manaus, direct.

“We’re doing a lot of long flights, for example to Central America. It’s very comfortable, the cabin is large and has a toilet, which many aircraft don’t have. It’s a family aircraft too,” he explained.

Perfect Aircraft, PC-24?

“The only problem with the PC-24,” said Brandão somewhat pensively, “is that with we don’t have enough to sell to the interested people.

“In 2014 at EBACE [in Geneva] they sold out the first three years of production. We went there with 14 LOIs from South American customers but unfortunately came back with only  three orders [fulfilled], and it’s not enough.” (The limited production slots were split evenly among Pilatus agents around the world).

“Since then we’ve been waiting for certification, when they will open the sales book up again, to see what we can get. It is the perfect aircraft for South and Central America and we have many customers signed up with LOIs and deposits, in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Guatemala. There are several in Brazil.” He added that of the three initial orders from 2014’s EBACE, “one is definitely going to Chile and another to Brazil.” Brandão also noted, as has oft been repeated by Pilatus, that “most PC-24 buyers are PC-12 owners.”