Regional Aviation Program moves forward with the selection of 34 Brazilian tourist destinations
The Regional Aviation Program was created in 2012 with the aim of connecting Brazil and bringing development and social services to regions lying far from the large urban centers – as is the case with the ‘Brazilian Legal Amazon’. To do this, the Civil Aviation Department (SAC) will be investing around R$ 7.3 billion (US$2.1 billion) in the construction and refurbishment of 270 airports throughout the country. It is expected that the first bidding processes will be announced later this year.
The idea is to make sure that 96% of the Brazilian population is no more than 100 kilometers from a passenger air terminal. Currently, 40 million people live further away from an airport than this, and only 77 regional airports operate regular commercial flights.
The program’s investment derives from the National Civil Aviation Fund (FNAC), being made up of resources drawn from air transport charges and concessions, whilst the finances can only be invested back into the sector itself. Any hiring of personnel made by the companies responsible for the studies and projects is made directly by the Federal Government and no sums are ever passed on to the states or municipalities.
The state of Rio de Janeiro’s tourist towns of Angra dos Reis, Paraty and Búzios were cited in a study performed by the Ministry of Tourism into the competitiveness of tourist development destinations lying outside the state capitals. All of these towns will be receiving direct and indirect benefits from the Federal Government’s investment in airport infrastructure.
The airport serving Angra is in the pre-planning and environmental licensing stage, which is the last stage before the start of the bidding process. A new passenger terminal is set to be built, whilst the landing and take off runway will be extended and refurbished, and a new aircraft apron and fire fighting department will be built.
The island of ‘Ilha Grande’, considered to be the municipality’s greatest tourist attraction, has restaurants, tourist signposting, snack bars and souvenir stores. Another attraction that was highlighted in the study was the Angra dos Reis Nuclear Power Plant that attracts visitors all year round.
The airport serving the colonial town of Paraty is currently in the phase of undergoing a Technical Viability Study, during which the region’s topography is studied and the size of the airport necessary to meet the region’s needs is defined, based upon socio-economic studies. The annual Paraty Literary Festival attracts tourists from all over the country.
Búzios is not included in the program, but will benefit from the improvements planned for the airport in Cabo Frio, which is set to be expanded and modernized.
Corumbá and Bonito, in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, should also be benefitting from the Regional Aviation Program.
The investment by the Federal Government, which totals R$ 7.3 billion, will make domestic tourism more accessible to Brazilians and foreigners. For the Minister of Tourism, Henrique Eduardo Alves, “the challenge is to improve the air transport network in order to increase visitors’ mobility and the integration of routes in Brazil.” According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Brazil already boasts the world’s third biggest domestic commercial aviation network.
According to the Minister of Aviation, Eliseu Padilha, tourism was one of the biggest motivating factors for the development of the Program. “We want to guarantee the expansion of the network for the integration of the country, the development of the regional centers, the strengthening of centers of tourism, and to guarantee isolated communities access to healthcare and social inclusion.