LABACE Organizers Upbeat on Show, Bizav in Brazil
Organizers of the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE) offered guarded optimism for the industry in Brazil as they gave a preview of Latin America's largest business aviation fair at Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, which takes place August 15 through 17.
“We hit the low point in 2016, and it's not good now, but it's improving,” said Leonardo Fiuza, chairman of LABACE organizer ABAG (the Brazilian association for general aviation), emphasizing recovery of both the fleet and operations. But, Fiuza added, “business aviation reflects business,” and the recovery is still fragile: at the start of 2018, economic growth of 4 percent was expected, but the rate dropped to 1.5 percent after a national truckers' strike in May. The impact of upcoming presidential elections is also a big unknown, he said.
Even so, LABACE's organizers anticipate an increase in attendance at this year's event, as Brazil remains the world's second-largest general aviation market. This show is expected to host 47 aircraft, about the same as last year, with Embraer bringing its entire lineup and Cirrus offering the Vision Jet for its first public showing in Brazil. Avic Harbin is not showing an airplane, but will have a booth to highlight its Y12E and Y12F, with certification still pending in Brazil.
ABAG CEO Flavio Pires explained that despite the physical shift in the space used at Congonhas Airport, the amount of space for aircraft and exhibitors remains the same. Exhibitors once again will occupy the historic hangar, with the static display area shifted away from the avenue. “But the display will still be cozy,” Pires promised. The auditorium is now located beside the exhibits and static display, and will feature a lineup of speakers.
A theme of the first day will be piracy, encompassing not only gray-market charters but also uncertified repair facilities, parts, and importation. Brazil's top aviation official, Secretary of Civil Aviation Dario Lopes, will discuss long-term goals for the country's general aviation sector. Embraer founder Ozires Silva will be the keynote speaker at the opening session.