Challenges for Viracopos Airport as it looks to attract routes


Aeroportos Brazil Viracopos making a push to expand its air cargo operations and tonnage as it looks to recover business.

In 2016 the Sao Paulo hub has seen a fall in tonnage on the import and export sides. Overall the gateway has seen volumes decrease roughly 20 per cent, but it still handles around 38 per cent of Brazilian air imports.

Viracopos Cargo commercial manager, Adam Cunha tells Air Cargo Week: “Although we were optimistic in our plans for 2016, the economic and political factors in Brazil could not be denied and in turn impacted our expectations for the year.

“That being said, due to our commercial and operational efforts, we feel that the decrease in tonnage was minimised and our position in the marketplace remains firm in terms of market share.”

Sector performance is varied and Cunha says pharma has been positive with past investments in infrastructure and processes bearing fruit, while the technology sector has not shown growth, but on a positive note it has not retracted in 2016.

Viracopos has already increased its cool chain capacity and is currently working towards the International Air Transport Association’s CEIV Pharma certification and is aiming to further grow pharma traffic.

Miami is the pillar trade lane for Viracopos and in addition, both Europe and Asia, due to the pharma and technological sectors, have remained firm in 2016.

Viracopos is looking to add cargo routes, and Cunha says: “While we are in talks with both types of operators, none have solidified new or additional routes thus far in 2016.

“The market is cautiously optimistic the economy is turning a corner so we hope that this will in turn reflect within these discussions.”

Cunha says a major concern is the impact belly cargo is having as it has more than 20 cargo airlines operating and to support them, especially in the beginning of a new frequency or route, it has put an incentive program in place to waive the landing fee charges for the first 12 to 24 months.

Viracopos has expansion plans such as developing its live cargo terminal, the building of a new distribution centre and an ‘Industrial City’ connecting to the runway.

Cunha also explains: “The biggest challenges in Brazil are the political and economic uncertainties that have taken their toll over the last 12 months.

“Add to that the difficulty of the public agencies to accompany growth and demands of the modern marketplace without the needed resources or updated processes in
place.

“This results in much higher operating costs for the importer and exporter, further complicating the choice to use airfreight as a mode of international trade.”