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Brazil government pro-aviation stance pushed air transport growth

The Brazilian government and local airline industry are using this year's ALTA Airline Leaders Forum to stress the country's recent pro-aviation advancements and the resulting boom in commercial aviation growth.

"ALTA did not used to be well known in Brazil. We are bringing ALTA to Brazil and Brazil to ALTA," the group's chief executive Luis Felipe de Oliveira says during a press event on Sunday marking the start of the conference. "It is very important to integrate Brazil into Latin American and the Caribbean region."

The event's organisers could have chosen a much larger city, such as Sao Paulo, to host this year's gathering. Instead, they picked the capital city of Brasilia, which they say reflects government-industry efforts in support of commercial aviation.

"It is the venue where the country's decisions are made," says Oliveira.

"We chose Brazil… especially Brasilia, because of the importance of the Brazilian market throughout the world, especially in Latin America," adds ALTA president Pedro Heilbron, who is also chief executive of Panama's Copa Airlines.

Several changes have made Brazil friendlier to commercial aviation in recent years, including a cut on aviation fuel taxes implemented by more than half of Brazil's states, notes Eduardo Sanovicz, head of Brazilian airline group ABEAR.

In recent years Brazil's aviation industry has announced the launch of some 600 new flights, he says.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian government signed new air transport services agreements with neighboring countries, passed a measure allowing airlines to charge extra for checked luggage and supported a Brazil-wide push to improve existing airports and open new ones, says Brazil's secretary of aviation infrastructure Ronei Glanzmann.

Those investments have enabled airport updates, such as those to Brasilia International airport, which have fuelled air travel growth, says Glanzmann. Airlines will operate an average of about 215 daily flights this month at Brasilia, up nearly 30% in four years, according to Cirium schedules data.

The number of available airline seats available countrywide has surged about 35% in 10 years, Cirium data shows.

Brazil's government has worked with private industry to open or update airports throughout the country, including those at Florianopolis, Porto Alegre, Salvador and Fortaleza, Glanzmann says.

Brazil also supported the opening of an airport in Vitoria da Conquista, with the aim of making that facility a regional aviation hub, notes Glanzmann.

"We have been through a true revitalisation in airport infrastructure," Glanzmann says. "We believe that the Brazilian infrastructure is no longer a bottleneck to the industry."

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