Brazil has become a country of great interest to U.S.-based Phoenix East Aviation (PEA) as Brazilians continue to seek educational opportunities abroad. Despite a challenging economic situation in Brazil, PEA said students remain interested in learning how to fly under the FAA curriculum. PEA has multiple campus locations and currently serves around 400 students, up from an estimated 130 students 18 months ago as of this July.
John Bingham, president and CEO of PEA, noted ongoing market growth in Brazil and anticipates continuing to provide students with an aviation education in the U.S. “We find the market continues to grow for us. We also have quite a large alumni base in Brazil. For us it’s a market that we constantly look to expand and grow from,” said Bingham.
PEA has been adding new campus locations and Brazilian students contribute directly to filling shops and classrooms. “Irrespective of the economic situation in Brazil, getting an education abroad is especially prevalent amongst those that want to learn to fly under FAA curriculum,” said Bingham. PEA has placed graduates at companies in Brazil. “We have people at Azul and many other Brazilian airlines that have trained with us and then returned to Brazil or elsewhere in the world. We have also taken on Brazilian staff members as part of our management team.”
According to Bingham, some of the incoming students from Brazil have some level of initial pilot training, but many come in without any experience. “We are looking to work with various institutions, companies, and universities that have aviation programs because we have the ability to take a good number of students,” said Bingham. “One of the attractions for a lot of people in Brazil is that they can see we are aggressively focused on getting students through our program and on to achieve their careers. They’re able to come to us, learn everything they want to do, and then continue with the career they have their heart set on.”
This marks PEA’s third year to exhibit at LABACE to recruit students. PEA plans to invite alumni based in Brazil or current students to LABACE to allow attendees to, “understand firsthand exactly what’s involved in getting up and moving to another country to learn how to fly,” said Bingham. “It’s a great show, but now it’s a very meaningful show and very good ground to recruit students to join the PEA program.”
Bingham explained that PEA features students representing around 70 different nationalities. At PEA, instructors work with students from other nations. “For instance, we never have a Brazilian work with a Brazilian student. We feel it creates the best foundation for them in what is really a multicultural and diversified industry. The common bond that drives all the students together is they all want to fly and love to fly,” said Bingham.