War drove to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) to establish a presence in Brazil more than 70 years ago, but economics is bringing the aviation training and education services provider back.

Daytona, Florida-based Embry-Riddle announced the opening of an office in Sao Paulo, along with the launch of a human factors training course in partnership with Porto Alegre-based Pontifical Catholic University of the Rio Grande.

The move coincides with a Brazilian government plan to refurbish or build 270 regional airports. In July, government officials reported that planning for the first 64 airports has been finalised.

The infrastructure initiative could generate demand for thousands of trained airport, air traffic control and aviation workers, says John Watret, president of ERAU.

The university’s plan is to build its infrastructure in Brazil gradually, beginning with not-for-credit courses aimed at training a new cadre of airport managers and flight crew.

ERAU executed a similar strategy when it entered the Singapore market in 2011. After launching services with not-for-credit courses, ERAU’s presence has grown rapidly. More than 500 students are now enrolled in Singapore, with some working on full degrees, Watret says.

Although the hope is that Brazil will follow on the same track, the country’s current economic crisis could limit the rate of growth

“That’s why we’re starting off slowly, building up with a few courses rather than coming in with a large infrastructure that may not succeed,” he says.

Source: FlightGlobal.com