Amid gleaming jets and turboprops, TAM Aviação Executiva’s LABACE 2022 static display features two old but beautifully restored piston-engine aircraft—a Cessna 195 from the 1950s that had belonged to the firm's founder, Commander Rolim. "We are celebrating 60 years of TAM AE and have been for the last year. The commemoration ends at LABACE," said TAM AE president Leonardo Fiuza, explaining the nod to the firm's beginnings.
Besides the Model 195, TAM is also displaying this week at the show a vintage Cessna 180F, three Cessna Citations (Latitude, CJ3+, and M2 Gen2), Beechcraft King Air 360, Cessna Grand Caravan EX, and two helicopters (Bell 429 and 505 Jet Ranger X).
This LABACE also marks 40 years that TAM AE, which is number one in business aviation sales in Brazil, has represented Cessna and now Textron Aviation in the Latin American country. Additionally, the pandemic has been "good for our sector" all over the world, Fiuza said, including for Brazil and TAM AE.
As for the customer base, Fiuza said, ”Agribusiness has always been strong, but last year it increased. Users are [motivated] to buy, though most change their current model for something new or upgrade their category," such as from a piston to a turboprop or a turboprop to a jet. "The financial sector and other industries are also having good moments,” he added.
"The charter business has improved and continues improving," Fiuza said, with more hours being flown. "The Brazilian is discovering business aviation as a way of travel and as a way of connecting post-pandemic."
He noted that TAM had no employees die of Covid. "We took all the precautions at the FBOs and in maintenance, and we are still following all the protocols with masks and hygiene, up to the present day."
TAM AE has also seen an increase in its maintenance business because customers are flying more, including post-pandemic.
Two important changes in maintenance are geographic. TAM AE opened a maintenance center in Aracati, in the northeastern state of Ceará, but it never reached expectations, and business aviation growth stalled in the region. Although it was second in size to the company's flagship operation at Jundiaí airport near São Paulo, the Aracati facility will be formally closed.
Instead, TAM AE will launch a new maintenance center in Goiânia, near Brasilia, the country's geographic center. The new Cental-West location will be closer to clients in the north and northeast than the Jundiaí facility and TAM AE's other existing MRO center in Belo Horizonte.
Another of TAM AE's roles is as a representative of FlightSafety International, and Fiuza said, "Demand [for training] has increased greatly."
Meanwhile, Fiuza has been re-elected to the chairmanship of ABAG for another term. On the subject of the privatization next week of Congonhas Airport, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the airport's future as the state's and the country's hub for business jet traffic, he said that business aviation is also good for the airport. "The GDP of Brazil passes through here,” he said. "I hope LABACE 2023 will be right here."