Is Brazil a One Trick Pony?
In May, will Tam become the only Brazilian airline flying out of Brazil? If Ocean Air and Varig cancel all their International flights, their fleets of Boeing 737, Ebraer and Folker airplanes will service only Intra-Brazilian destinations.
Brazil’s aviation safety record is notoriously negative. In 2007, electrical problems shut down Brazilian airspace for 2Â½ hours. Brazil diverted incoming flights to return to their respective points of origin or unscheduled landings at airports from Chile to Puerto Rico. (This was subsequent to the Sao Paulo Airbus A320 TAM Airlines Flight 3054 crash, but it was by no means the first disaster.) The last couple of years,in fact, Brazil’s entire civil aviation system has been in crisis, suffering from safety issues, air traffic controller strikes as well as flight cancellations and delays. The so-called “ApagÃ£o AÃ©reo” (Aerial blackout) followed the Gol Flight 1907 mid-air collision.
The four CINDACTA, or “Centro Integrado de Defesa AÃ©rea e Controle de TrÃ¡fego AÃ©reo (Integrated Air Traffic Control and Air Defense Centers) are run by the Brazilian Air Force. The government’s Tribunal de Contas da UniÃ£o (Union Accounting Tribunal) holds the Brazilian Government responsible for the disastrous record, due in part to Pan American World Airways Flight 202 ( April 28, 1952), VASP Flight 168 ( June 8, 1982), Varig Flight 254 ( September 3 1989), and TAM Transportes AÃ©reos Regionais Flight 402 (October 31, 1996), among others.