This is a post by authors Andre Camargo and Marcia Taue. Andre and Marcia are based at Universal Aviation Brazil, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Manaus, Recife and Rio de Janeiro. Andre and Marcia are experts on business aircraft operations in Brazil and can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 10th annual Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE 2013) takes place August 14-16 at Congonhas, Sao Paulo (SBSP). When operating business aircraft to LABACE, be particularly careful with airport curfew hours, airport slot requirements and Prior Permission Required (PPR) requirements. Based on previous years’ experience with LABACE, airports in the Sao Paulo area should operate normally during this time period. The only exception is SBSP. That airport is used for demo flights, and airfield congestion will be a factor. While aircraft parking is usually available at this location, there are several alternate airports to consider, if necessary. Here’s what you should know:
1. SBSP has operating restrictions
SBSP is not an Airport of Entry (AOE). Operating hours are 0600-2300 local, with no overtime permitted. Airport slots are required at SBSP and only released (online) 25 hours prior to your Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) or Estimated Time of Departure (ETD). Airport slots in Brazil are issued by the Department of Airspace Control and are obtained on a first-come-first-served basis. Operators and exhibitors attending this event don’t enjoy any special slot priority. Slot requests are normally arranged via a ground handler, who will obtain slot reservations via a website. General Aviation (GA) parking is only available at a private ramp/hangar area and should be reserved in advance. As aircraft will be repositioned, from time to time, crew should provide local contact numbers or make arrangements with their ground handler to move the aircraft if and when required.
2. Consider parking alternates to SBSP
Guarulhos, Sao Paulo (SBGR) is a 24-hour AOE and about a one-hour drive from SBSP. Note that a PPR is necessary for SBGR, with at least 48 hours’ advance notification. Campinas, Sao Paulo (SBKP) is also a 24-hour AOE, located about one hour and 30 minutes from SBSP. PPR is also needed for this airfield, with at least 48 hours’ advance notice. Note that aircraft are subject to being repositioned at both SBGR and SBKP, and tow bars are required.
3. CIQ considerations for SBGR and SBKP
To clear Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) at SBGR or SBKP, passengers and crew members must go to the main terminal for passport control and bag screening. Customs clearance may take up to 30 minutes. Be advised that there’s no special line for passengers arriving aboard GA flights. In the case of those exhibiting aircraft at LABACE, the CIQ clearance procedure may take up to one business day, with special procedures required.
Also, please note that the aircraft’s temporary admission and overflight permit validation may take up to 90 minutes to process.
4. Consider SBSJ if you’re exhibiting during LABACE
If you’re planning to do exhibition flights during LABACE, San Jose Dos Campos (SBSJ) is a good option. Flight time from SBSJ to SBSP is about 25 minutes. Note, however, that you’ll need airport slots for SBSP, and they can only be requested 25 hours prior to ETD or ETA. If an operator needs to do more than one landing and one take-off per day, it may be necessary to file for an “opportunity flight plan,” if airport slots aren’t available. With this type of flight plan, you cannot always guarantee ETD/ETA.
5. CIQ clearance on the way to SBSP
For CIQ clearance en route to SBSP, consider Manaus (SBEG), Belo Horizonte (SBCF), Porto Alegre (SBPA), Foz de Iguacu (SBFI), Recife (SBRF), Brasilia (SBBR) and Fortaleza (SBFZ). Be aware that a domestic permit is needed for Brazil if you’re making more than one stop – including a tech stop – in country.
6. Landing permits are needed for all stops in Brazil
You’ll need a landing permit for all airports in Brazil. Some airports also have PPR mandates. While there’s no fixed lead time for obtaining permits and PPRs, most airports will issue these within 24 hours of a request.
7. Be aware of Brazilian flight plan requirements
Brazilian Air Traffic Control (ATC) follows International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules for flight plan filing. Particular information may be required, but that is always available on Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for the particular airport. Best practice is to always check NOTAMs for preferential routes, preferential flight levels, performance-based navigation (PBN) info, and any other remarks (RMK) info. Note that it’s mandatory for non-Brazilian aircraft to include in the remarks section 18 of the flight plan the landing fee number, landing permit number and a notation of the last airport operated from. For example, if the aircraft is taking off out of SBGR – and came from SBKP – it’s mandatory to add “FROM/SBKP.” For airports with airport slot requirements, it’s also mandatory to add the slot number as follows: CLR SBXX SLOT XXXXX.
8. Ensure that flight plan information is correct
Have your 3rd-party provider or ground handler check your flight plan once it’s on file with ATC. It’s best to do this two hours prior to ETD so that if any information is missing, or something is wrong, you may request a correction ahead of time. If your flight plan filing is not correct, it will be necessary to re-file the full flight plan.
9. Consider fueling on arrival or departure
While fueling on arrival may help alleviate delays day of departure, it’s the operator’s choice when to schedule fuel uplifts. Keep in mind that fuel for domestic legs in Brazil is more expensive than international legs, due to domestic taxes. Fuel taxes in Brazil, in some cases, may double the posted price of aviation fuel.
10. Check special NOTAMS during LABACE period
There will likely be special NOTAMS, and perhaps airport restrictions/curfews, to consider at Sao Paulo airports during the LABACE time period. At this point, however, we’re not aware of any special or planned restrictions.
11. Consider hotel availability
Many good 4- and 5-star hotels are available throughout Sao Paulo, including most international chains. During busy periods, such as LABACE, hotels can sell out fast, and rates for crew rooms may exceed 300-400 USD per night. Some Sao Paulo-area hotels may require prepayment of accommodations during the LABACE event. Cancellation policy for most area hotels will be 24 hours. It’s best to book pre-paid transport (car and driver) in advance, during busy periods such as LABACE.
12. Additional reading
For additional information, read our series on business aircraft operations in Brazil.
Plan on sufficient lead time to obtain permits and ensure that you provide your ground handler with all necessary permit documentation in advance. Sao Paulo gets very busy from time to time, and you may run into parking and hotel availability issues by putting off trip planning till the last minute.
About Andre Camargo
Universal Aviation Brazil Country Manager Andre Camargo has more than 20 years’ experience in the aviation industry in both ground handling and flight operations management. Based in Sao Paulo, Andre is an expert on operations to and from Brazil.
Andre holds both a law degree from the Universidade Cidade de Sao Paulo and an MBA from Fundação Getulio Vargas. He can be reached at email@example.com.
About Marcia Taue
Marcia Taue has more than a decade’s experience in aviation and is an expert in ground support coordination throughout Brazil, with a special emphasis on operations to Sao Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport. Marcia currently serves as Operations Manager for Universal Aviation Brazil – Sao Paulo. Prior to joining Universal, Marcia worked in ground support for a major commercial airline at Guarulhos. She is fluent in both Portuguese and English, and you can reach Marcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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