"Our expectations are the best possible for LABACE this year,” said Junia Hermont, COO of Líder Aviação, which claims to be Latin America’s largest business aviation firm, with 19 operating bases, more than 1,500 employees, and a fleet of more than 50 aircraft. “The current moment is very positive for business aviation, and we have seen growth in several areas of the company's operations. This event will bring us back into direct contact with many customers and aviation lovers simultaneously, after experiencing so many restrictions during the pandemic.”
Anderson Markiewicz, Líder’s aircraft sales director, pointed to a 150 percent increase over pre-pandemic numbers in purchase and sale transactions, for both new and used aircraft. “Now we will have the first LABACE after this impressive growth…a great opportunity for interested parties.” In the past twelve months, the company sold 20 aircraft, which contributed to 37 percent revenue growth for the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
A traditional LABACE exhibitor and the Honda Aircraft representative in Brazil, Líder this year is displaying one of the three HondaJets in its fleet. There are five HondaJets operating in Brazil, although the model only became available a few years ago and Líder expects that number to grow rapidly.
Like other large Brazilian business aviation firms, Líder does something of everything, in five key categories: charter, ground handling/servicing, aircraft acquisition and sales; maintenance; and helicopter operations for oil and gas customers.
The charter fleet now includes Líder’s latest acquisition, an Airbus H145 helicopter. Líder is the only charter firm in Brazil with IS-BAO level 3 registration, and it also holds ISO quality system certification. Charter activity has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, according to the company, and January through May 2022 was equivalent to the same period in 2019.
At LABACE, the company is highlighting maintenance services. The firm has earned certification from Brazil’s ANAC and the FAA and is an authorized service center for Bell, Honda Aircraft, and Gulfstream, according to Bruna Assumpção, superintendent of the maintenance, charter, and aircraft management divisions at Líder Aviação. “We do everything from aircraft customization and modernization, including painting, interior design, and avionics upgrades to preventive maintenance and repair of aircraft and engines,” Bruna said.
The company also offers mobile maintenance (Líder in Loco service) both in Brazil and outside the country “to provide all necessary maintenance support, with the same level of quality,” he added. Its maintenance business did not fall off during the pandemic as many owners took advantage of the downtime to schedule work on their aircraft, according to Bruna.
The firm’s capacity was unaffected, as only a small number of workers were sidelined by Covid. “My workers are very good at following safety procedures,” Líder director of business maintenance Rodrigo Barbosa told AIN.
“Líder organized a very consistent protocol of prevention and health measures so that our employees could work safely, impacting as little as possible the restriction in the provision of service to our customers,” the company explained. “We carried out training focused on awareness and prevention education with our employees, in addition to the distribution of protective equipment and hygiene materials.”
The firm expects demand for maintenance to increase compared to 2019, projecting a 23 percent increase in scheduled and a 12 percent increase in nonscheduled maintenance this year.
Líder also expects growth in retrofits, due to the increase in the purchase and sale of used aircraft. These include avionics upgrades such as replacement of analog gauges with glass cockpits, LED lighting, and airborne connectivity. “Today, nobody wants to be disconnected from the internet,” Barbosa said. “Our engineering and projects team develops the most suitable solution for each aircraft model.” Líder also offers aircraft painting, with custom color and design services using an environmentally responsible paint system.
At Rio Galeão Airport, Líder built a new FBO before the 2016 Olympics, with the first hangar in Brazil to be bonded, allowing immigration and customs processes to be carried out in the hangar itself. In most Brazilian airports, visitors arriving by business jet must take a van to the terminal to wait in line with airline passengers.
Since then, special immigration services have been inaugurated at Catarina Executive Airport near São Paulo and the GATGRU business aviation terminal at Guarulhos. Commonplace in other countries, customs and immigration service at the FBO is far from common in Brazil.
A business aviation customs terminal was launched at Congonhas months ago, but the need to reach agreement with all the agencies involved means that it still is not operating. This terminal, Líder said, will be of great importance to visitors to Brazil’s financial center and will be usable by Líder’s clients, as well as the clients of other FBOs at Congonhas.