More than 200 Brazilian airline pilots are flying for carriers based outside the Americas, most of them in the Middle East and India. Although many have sought work abroad for specific foreign airlines following the demise of Varig, industry sources indicate that airlines on the opposite sides of the world are either sharing Brazil's pilot resources or are preparing agreements to do so.
US-based Paramount Aviation Resources chief executive Michael Johnson says his company is preparing to help India's Jet Airways, which employs pilots on its Boeing 777 fleet who once worked for Brazilian carriers, to set up an arrangement whereby Jet can release some of them to TAM for instructional duties on the Brazilian operator's new 777 fleet, now about to be delivered.
The contract has not yet been activated, he says. Johnson denies allegations that Brazilian pilots now working for Jet Airways are performing flight instruction duties to TAM flight personnel as well as carrying out their duties with Jet.
Johnson says Paramount ensures that flightcrews handled by the company do not engage in activities that jeopardise standing crew duty time regulations. For the duration of the contract, he insists, Brazilian Jet Airways pilots would fly solely for TAM, adding that it is up to the Brazilian carrier precisely when the agreement begins.
TAM has told Flight International that there is no agreement with Jet Airways nor any other carrier, but Brazilian pilot sources closely linked to TAM say a deal is definitely on the cards, adding that the Jet Airways pilots would come to Brazil not solely as flight instructors, but also as regular 777 flightcrews. These pilots say TAM is finding it almost impossible to assemble the required number of 777 flightcrew - to the point where the airline is at risk of having more aircraft than crews.
Meanwhile, Brazil's main pilot association the Sindicato Nacional de Aeronautas says that, despite their Brazilian nationality, any Jet Airways pilots seconded to TAM would be expected to abide by local regulations and union practices.
TAM says it has contracted Florida-based AeroServices for its training requirements. Instructors will operate with it for a predetermined amount of time under existing Brazilian aviation authority (ANAC) rules. It insists that AeroServices selects appropriate instructors from other carriers under a procedure authorised by the ANAC, and that while contracted they fly only for TAM.