Textron Aviation is once again the largest exhibitor at LABACE this year, with 10 aircraft on display. That was the message from company representatives who met with AIN at the Conghonas Airport facility of TAM Aviação Executiva (TAM AE), Textron Aviation's local exclusive distributor for Brazil, to discuss the company's outlook for the region.
“TAM is the support for the 1Call program in the southern cone—Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay,” said TAM AE president Leonardo Fiuza. Under the program, a customer with AOG calls one number in Wichita, Kansas, and the local support is activated. TAM AE has Latin America's largest maintenance area with hangars in Belo Horizonte, in Aracatí in northeast Brazil, and its flagship facility at Jundiaí airport near São Paulo, which is the largest authorized Cessna service center outside the U.S.
For aircraft financing, Textron is seeing more liquidity and more financing by local banks, led by Bradesco, according to Tracy Cassil, Textron Financial senior vice president of global finance. “Textron is the only OEM with its own financing arm. In Brazil, customers look for financing.”
Rob Scholl, Textron Aviation senior vice president, sales and marketing, highlighted the in-development Denali and SkyCourier models as of particular interest in the region.
“They’re built for multi-missions, and we’re getting requests for quick change-out, to fly passengers in the daytime, and cargo in the evening,” said Lannie O'Bannion, Textron Aviation vice president, sales Latin America, Middle East, and Africa. “The agricultural market is a great market for [fixed-wing] and also for helicopters,” he added, and a high proportion of recent sales have come from this sector. “It’s agribusiness. It’s nearly 100 percent of our sales. We sell everywhere [geographically].”
Although he acknowledged Embraer and Helibras had some advantage being in-country OEMs, Nicholas Peffer, Bell's managing director, Latin America commercial, said the company is experiencing considerable success in the region. “São Paulo is an incredible city for helicopters.”
Fiuza said Bell had won government contracts and has helicopters with the Federal Highway Police, Rio de Janeiro Civil Police, the Federal Police, and several states. He noted that while people hadn’t been replacing aircraft and helicopters for the past four years whereas they used to do so on a three- to five-year cycle—so now “the aircraft are getting old and there is growing demand for replacements.” He expects that to play out “later this year and early next.”
Asked about business elsewhere in Latin America, Scholl said, “We’re very pleased with the recovery in Latin America.”