Jet Support Services Inc. (JSSI) has been operating in Brazil for more than 20 years and David Caporali, JSSI’s v-p for business development in Latin America, sees the market as primed for expansion. “Latin America is a very fertile place for us,” Caporali said.
The company has 350 to 400 aircraft in its support programs throughout the region, out of 5,000 enrolled worldwide, and has seen a recent double-digit surge in business flying in Brazil and strong increases in Mexico as well. “Our presence in Mexico is very strong,” Caporali said. He called the expansion of business flying in Brazil “huge” over the last five years, driven by local demand in part generated by strong commodities markets. Approximately 60 percent of JSSI’s customers there operate fixed-wing jets, with the remainder in turboprops and helicopters.
Aside from the raw growth in flight hours, other factors are in play that make JSSI and the maintenance and ownership services it offers particularly attractive to customers in the region. “Brazilian operators are taking a much more professional approach to aviation recently," Caporali said, adding that the proliferation of this aviation professionalism was a result of the combination of wider adoption of operator best practices and the asset protection requirements of aircraft financiers. It also comes at a moment when inflation is pressuring aviation costs greatly.
“The labor shortages in the U.S. combined with the health and political crises in Europe and raw material shortages all affect prices,” he said. “We have relationships with more than 400 vendors so we can use that to leverage that in a moment like now when there are parts shortages. We have the ability to access parts that many other vendors cannot to keep customers supplied with components and engines. Everybody is a little scared of the costs of services and parts, so financial planning is becoming a very interesting subject to discuss with operators. We see more operators hiring maintenance managers. That wasn’t the case 10 years ago.”
Thanks in part to its acquisition of aviation data and consultancy Conklin and DeDecker in 2018, JSSI can offer customers tools to "enhance their visibility and predictability in a neutral way that does not favor one OEM or provider over another. It is all data-driven based on the statistics that we have consolidated over the years. In this way, we support the maintenance professionals, operators, and pilots who are involved in maintaining the aircraft. It is very useful in particular for new operators coming into the market,” Caporali said.
Brazil’s offshore helicopter market, driven by the needs of national energy company Petrobras, is an area of interest for JSSI, according to Caporali. “It’s a market that we are targeting more. We don’t have a large participation in offshore so far, but it is something we are watching closely. The offshore helicopter market is recovering. It’s expanding again.”