By João Paulo Moralez
The measure could re-warm the sector that was also very affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Until recently, air taxi companies in Brazil were unable to sell individual seats as a scheduled airline. However, on August 7, the National Civil Aviation Agency authorized the companies in the sector to carry out, for a period of two years, the transport of passengers and cargo individually, valid for airplanes with up to 19 seats.
The move will help boost this market that often comes back with empty seats after a chartered flight.
“What we see is a new business niche for air taxi companies and great news for passengers, because in the case of empty legs, when the aircraft would already be empty, to return to the base, for example, the seats can be quite advantageous in terms of price” said Flavio Pires, General Director of the Brazilian Association of General Aviation (ABAG).
According to Pires, the main advantage is connectivity. General aviation can reach more than 3,300 aerodromes throughout Brazil, while commercial aviation serves just over 100 cities. The other advantage is, in times of isolation, to avoid crowds at airports, with departures in less busy hangars. Luggage also ships with the passenger and does not need to be handled by a third party.
Currently, there are 122 companies certified to provide air taxi services in Brazil. Altogether, the country has 5,570 municipalities, but the commercial aviation network covered just over 140 destinations before the pandemic. Today, in addition to a drastic reduction in frequencies, only 80 locations are served.
The measure could also help recover other markets, such as maintenance, also affected by the pandemic.
“It is good for the aeronautical market and excellent for developing new users of this mode of transport. In the long run, we see that general aviation will help connect Brazil and feed the routes offered by commercial aviation, for example to international destinations and other conventional destinations, already served, in a model that works worldwide. Small aircraft offering complementary routes, which feed other flights with passengers”, said Pires.
The creation of the new rules was originated by a demand from ABAG, which in partnership with the National Transport Confederation (CNT) and the National Union of Air Taxi Companies (SNETA) created the Air Connectivity Movement in Brazil, to restore part of the capacity public air transport system lost during the pandemic. The practical result of this was the launch of a mobile application and web platform that now allows the chartering of aircraft in the conventional model and that will also enable the commercialization of seats in air taxi aircraft under the new regulations. This means more business possibilities for companies and more flights for passengers.