Opening Doors In Brazil
By ANN Senior Editor Pete Combs
It was the biggest LABACE ever -- with attendance on just the
first day up 16-percent compared to the attendance of last year's
event. That's the kind of thing that makes sponsor NBAA happy --
and the kind of thing that makes him think about business aviation
the world over.
In an interview with ANN from the event site in Sao Paolo,
Brazil, Bolen talked about two things most important to business
aviation -- infrastructure and regulation.
"We're beginning to recognize that general aviation isn't just
the US," Bolen said.
Part of the issue is simply getting from here to there --
wherever "there" may be.
Take Brazil for instance. If LABACE '05 has done nothing else,
it has opened the channels of discourse between two nations whose
governments aren't all that friendly. "There's a lot of
conversation," Bolen said, "between US and Brazilian officials on
harmonizing regulations. For instance, non-commercial Brazilian
aircraft are only allowed to fly into the US six times a year."
There were no major breakthroughs on that issue at LABACE '05,
Bolen said. Rather, there was quiet progress. "This is our third
year here. We continue to tweak. There's a lot of room for
Perhaps the biggest
opportunity to improve aviation relations between the US and Brazil
came on the conference's opening day last week, when FAA Deputy
Administrator Robert Sturgell spoke at the opening ceremonies.
"That brought about a level of respect from the Brazilians, to have
him at the ribbon-cutting ceremony," Bolen (right) said. "When he
mentioned that he'd been an instructor at Miromar [Naval Air
Station, where the Navy holds its "Top Gun" competitions] and paid
his respects to Brazil," he gained a lot of respect for himself and
That's the kind of interaction Bolen thinks will get things
moving in the effort to homogenize aviation regulations between
North and South America. "It's harder to resolve the differences if
you don't know the people," Bolen told ANN.
To that end, NBAA is headed to Asia later this year for another
LABACE-style conference -- this one in China. "We're laying the
groundwork," he said. "We're doing missionary work."