This is a post by author Adonis Bastos. Adonis is the Flight Coordinator at Universal Aviation Brazil, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Manaus, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro. Adonis is an expert on business aircraft operations in Brazil and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the 2016 Brazil Summer Games and Para Games taking place August 5-21 and September 7-18, it’s not too early to begin trip planning for these events. However, the Summer Games period promises to create additional challenges in terms of general aviation (GA) access and parking at Rio de Janeiro airports.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. GA vs. scheduled commercial operations
During the 2016 Brazil Summer Games period, priority in terms of airport slots, permits, parking and weather diversions, will be given to scheduled commercial operations. However, we do not anticipate that Brazilian authorities will be more restrictive with GA operations than they were during the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Airport slot reservations are expected to be available later in the year, and 20% of available slots for the Rio de Janeiro area will be open to private non-revenue, charter (non-scheduled commercial), head of state, and designated VIP operations.
2. Airspace exclusion zones and restrictions
The Centro de Gerenciamento da Navegacao (CGNA) has issued airspace restrictions for the period of the 2016 Brazil Summer Games, including exclusion zones denoted on charts as Red and Yellow. Private non-revenue and charter flights will be authorized to use some of these specific zones, as long as they comply with the regulations applicable to business aviation. Below are the governing authorities who regulate GA flights in Brazil:
- Agencia Nacional de Aviacao Civil (ANAC): Issues the permit for the aircraft
- CGNA: Controls airport slots
- Department of Airspace control (DECEA): Manages flight planning and routing
- Federal Customs: Authorize the temporary admission of aircraft in the country
Note that the Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) does not specify the governing authorities, but these are the ones that affect GA. Additionally, for the purposes of these regulations GA is defined, according to RBAC 108, as follows:
- Class 1: operators who perform private air services.
- Class 2: operators who provide air taxi services.
3. Airport closures
There will be certain airport closures in effect, as managed by CGNA and described in the AIC A 18/15. During the 2016 Brazil Summer Games, individual airport authorities will manage aircraft parking but CGNA will be responsible for closures and airport slots. For example, Galeao Intl (SBGL), as the primary airport for the Summer Games, will be extremely busy with all available GA parking likely to be full. Santos Dumont (SBRJ) on the other hand will be closed to GA during certain times of day as it’s located right on the bay where certain Olympic events will be held. While the ANAC has advised of these closures, the CGNA AIC has not yet released the actual closure times. We expect closures at SBRJ to extend from August 5 through September 18, but this has not yet been confirmed, and the Department of Airspace Control has not yet issued NOTAMs indicating actual closure times. In addition, Belo Horizonte (SBBH) is also expected to have closures for GA access during the same dates.
4. Airport slots
According to CGNA a new airport slot system will be put in place during the 2016 Brazil Summer Games. Although we do not expect slot confirmations to be available until July, it’s important for operators to begin working with 3rd-party providers and/or ground handlers now in order to best position for preferred slot opportunities. However, it’s important to ensure that your 3rd-party provider is registered with CGNA and has the appropriate approvals to be able to obtain slots for you.
5. Juggling parking and hotels
As hotels in the Rio de Janeiro area are expected to be full during the 2016 Brazil Summer Games, it’s important to book crew accommodations as early as possible. Even though GA parking confirmations for Rio de Janeiro-area airports are not expected to be announced until April it’s recommended to book crew accommodations as soon as possible. Be aware of hotel cancellation policies as most hotels are expected to have extended cancellation or non-refundable policies.
6. Crew visa requirements
Flight crew, regardless of nationality, are visa exempt in Brazil as long as they’re on duty, listed on the gendec, have valid passports, have valid pilot licenses issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) from the same country as the aircraft is registered, and are in uniform. Our experience has been that the uniform requirement is usually not enforced for GA. If you do not have all of the above, visas will be required to enter Brazil.
7. Passenger visa requirements
For the period of the 2016 Brazil Summer Games, passengers with U.S., Canadian, Japanese, and Australian nationality will be visa exempt for stays of up to 90 days if they are traveling to Brazil for tourism purposes only. Those who intend to use this benefit must enter the country between June 1 and September 18, 2016. Note that it’s not necessary to attend the 2016 Brazil Summer Games, or hold tickets to the events, in order to take advantage of visa free entry to Brazil.
8. Cabotage considerations
Brazil takes cabotage issues seriously, and local customs authorities are responsible for determining any cabotage infractions. Ferry legs and passenger changes within Brazil can be considered cabotage; therefore, these should be avoided. Although it’s legal and permissible to transport Brazilian and foreign nationals on foreign-registered aircraft intra-country, it’s recommended that the lead passenger accompany each domestic leg, as this should negate any cabotage concerns. Charter operators should always carry the charter contract onboard, indicating all flight legs, as evidence that the trip originated outside the country. If cabotage is determined, customs authorities will revoke your domestic permit and force the aircraft to depart the country.
9. Zika virus update
Although the Zika virus outbreak is considered a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” the 2016 Brazil Summer Games will take place during the Southern hemisphere’s winter when proliferation of mosquitoes is less intense. The most significant outbreak risk for the Rio de Janeiro area is expected to be in the December – January summer period.
For more information on Zika virus risks see the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.
10. More information on the Summer Games
For the very latest on 2016 Brazil Summer Games operating requirements see the 2016 Brazil Summer Games Resource Center.
Although parking confirmations and airport slots for SBGL and other popular destinations will not likely be available until April and July respectfully, there are steps operators can take now to help ensure smooth access to the Summer Games. Submit trip plans to you 3rd-party provider as soon as possible, ensure permit documentation is assembled, and be proactive in booking crew accommodations. As soon as parking and slots become available, your 3rd-party provider will be best positioned to request them immediately.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Brazil, contact Adonis at email@example.com.
World Cup, 2014 Brazil and Brazil 2014 are trademarks of the Fèdèration Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”). Universal Aviation is not in any way associated with FIFA.
About Adonis Bastos
Adonis Bastos is the Supervisor of the flight coordination office for Universal Aviation Brazil – Sao Paolo. While his areas of expertise cover a full range of general aviation (GA) support services throughout Brazil, Adonis is known for his in-depth knowledge on the ins and outs of Brazilian landing and domestic permits. With nine years in the aviation industry, working for airlines including Delta, Air China and TAM, five years in business aviation, and an educational degree in Air Transportation Logistics, Adonis is a key resource for GA operators heading for Brazil. He’s fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Adonis can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
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