sexta-feira, 16 de janeiro de 2009

"Nobody likes middle seats"

VARIG was the first airline in Brazil, established on May 7, 1927 at the Porto Alegre Commercial Association meeting. It was there that Otto Ernst Meyer, a German immigrant, signed the certificate declaring VARIG an airline company.

VARIG's first aircraft was a nine-passenger Dornier Wal flying boat. Its first employee, the Hungarian Ruben Berta, later became the airline's President and led the airline until his death in 1966. The airline started operations on 15 July 1927. VARIG's first flight was from Porto Alegre to Rio Grande, stopping in Pelotas.

VARIG initially operated local services in southern Brazil, but added its first international route to Montevideo on 5 August 1942. The airline took over the REAL consortium in 1961, making it the largest airline in South America. Transatlantic services were started in February 1965, when the military government decided to shutdown Panair do Brasil, the country's flag carrier up until then. It acquired a controlling interest in Cruzeiro do Sul in June 1975, which was fully integrated into VARIG in January 1993.

VARIG had shareholdings in Nordeste Linhas Aéreas Regionais (99%), Rio Sul Serviços Aéreos Regionais (97%), and Pluna (49%). Its cargo subsidiary, VarigLog, was sold to the Volo do Brasil consortium in January 2006. Another subsidiary, VEM Maintenance & Engineering, VARIG's maintenance centre, was sold to a consortium presided by Portuguese airline TAP Portugal.

The Dornier Do J (later designated Do 15 and Do 16 by the Reich Aviation Ministry) was better known as the Wal (German for whale).

The Do J was a fairly modern (compared to World War I types) flying boat with a high-mounted strut-braced monoplane wing. Two piston engines were mounted in tandem in a nacelle above the wing and in line with the hull; one engine drove a tractor propeller and the other drove a pusher propeller. The crew of 2 to 4 rode in an open cockpit near the nose of the hull. Cabin space for up to 12 passengers was available inside the hull.

The Do J made its first flight on 6 November 1924. The flight as well as most of the production until 1932 took place in Italy because all aviation activity in Germany was forbidden after World War I under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles).

The Do J was powered by 2 Rolls-Royce Eagle IX 265 kW (355 hp) engines. with a maximum speed of 388 km/h (241 mph), and a cruising speed of 323 km/h (201 mph). Its empty weight was 2524 kg (5,565 lb), and a maximum payload of 4100 kg (9,039 lb). It had a range of 3,600 km (2,237 miles), and a ceiling of 11,480 ft (3,500 m).

The Portuguese military aviator Sarmento de Beires and his crew made the first night aerial crossing of the South Atlantic in a Dornier J named Argos. The crossing was made on the night of 17 March 1927 from Portuguese Guinea to Brazil.

Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes purchase of VARIG

On March 28, 2007, Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, the parent company of budget carrier Gol Transportes Aéreos, purchased VARIG for US$320 million. Gol announced that VARIG would continue to operate under its original name. The fleet of 17 aircraft was to be increased to 34, consisting of 20 Boeing 737 and 14 Boeing 767. With the new fleet VARIG would operate to 12 international destinations: Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Caracas, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, New York, Miami, Mexico City and Santiago. VARIG's international flights would no longer have First Class, therefore consisting only of Economy Class and Business (Executive) Class. Key domestic services would be operated, including the Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo shuttle, using VARIG's 124 slots at Congonhas-São Paulo International Airport.

On June 21, 2007, Constantino de Oliveira Jr., the CEO of Gol Transportes Aéreos announced VARIG's immediate future plans for its fleet and destinations. The plan included the acquisition of nine of the more fuel efficient Boeing 737-800 model and 10 Boeing 767. Constantino also announced that the airline was in negotiations with both Boeing and Airbus for the acquisition of either Boeing 787 or Airbus A350 aircraft. The plan also included flights to Madrid, London, Paris, Milan, Rome and Mexico City by the end of 2007, and New York City and Miami in 2008. [9] In January 29, 2008, however, VARIG stated that it would end flights to Frankfurt, Rome, and London[10]. And, in April 10 the same year, the company announced it would suspend operations in Mexico City, Madrid and Paris, therefore focusing its routes network in Brazil and South America.

The present state of Varig can be seen in this list of aircraft that is currently used by the company

Aircraft type- Number of aircraft- Passengers per aircraft

Boeing 737-300 8 136 (136) Short haul Exit from service: Late 2008

Boeing 737-700 12 124 (124) Short-medium haul

Boeing 737-800 10 162 (162) Short-medium haul Replacing: Boeing 737-300

Bra Transportes Aéreos - São Paulo, Brazil Flights within Brazil is a low-fare airline. The BRA Transportes Aéreos fleet consists of the following aircraft: Boeing 737-300, Boeing 737-400, Boeing 767-200, Boeing 767-300ER. BRA domestic destinations: Aracajú, Belém, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Campo Grande, Caldas Novas, Campina Grande, Caruaru, Curitiba, Fernando de Noronha, Florianópolis, Fortaleza, Goiânia, João Pessoa, Juazeiro do Norte, Maceió, Mossoró, Natal, Palmas, Paulo Afonso, Petrolina, Porto Alegre, Porto Seguro, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, São Luís, Teresina, Vitória. BRA international destinations: Lisbon Portugal, Madrid Spain, Milan Italy, Cologne Germany, Dusseldorf Germany, Rome Italy, Stockholm Sweden, Oslo Norway, Oporto Portugal, Tel-Aviv Israel.

GOL - São Paulo, Brazil Is a low-cost airline based in São Paulo, Brazil. The Gol fleet includes the following aircraft: Boeing 737-300, Boeing 737-700, Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737-800. Gol domestic destinations: Aracaju, Araraquara, Belém, Belo Horizonte, Boa Vista, Brasília, Campina Grande, Campinas, Campo Grande, Caxias do Sul, Chapecó, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Florianópolis, Fortaleza, Foz do Iguaçu, Goiânia, Ilhéus, Imperatriz, João Pessoa, Joinville, Juazeiro do Norte, Londrina, Macapá, Maceió, Manaus, Maringá, Natal, Navegantes, Palmas, Petrolina, Porto Alegre, Porto Seguro, Porto Velho, Recife, Ribeirão Preto, Rio Branco, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Santarém, São José do Rio Preto, São Luís, São Paulo, Teresina, Uberlândia and Vitória. International destinations: Asunción, Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Lima, Montevideo, Rosario, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Santiago.

WebJet Linhas Aéreas - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Is a small low-cost Brazilian carrier. It operates in these cities: Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. The fleet consists in Boeing 737-300. Destinations: Salvador - Rio de Janeiro - Porto Alegre - Curitiba; Curitiba - Porto Alegre - Rio de Janeiro - Salvador; Porto Alegre - Curitiba - Rio de Janeiro; Rio de Janeiro - Curitiba - Porto Alegre; Rio de Janeiro - Belo Horizonte; Belo Horizonte - Rio de Janeiro.

JetBlue founder to start new airline in Brazil

By Todd Benson

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - JetBlue Airways , founder David Neeleman unveiled plans on Thursday for a new low-cost airline in Brazil's fast-growing aviation market, saying he had already raised $150 million for the venture.

The carrier, still unnamed, will start with a fleet of three jets made by the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer and should take to the skies in early 2009. In five years, it expects to have a fleet of 76 planes.

"Brazil is a country that needs more competitors, and in particular a different type of competitor," Neeleman said in Portuguese at a news conference in Sao Paulo.

Like JetBlue, the U.S. discount carrier that Neeleman founded in 1998, the new Brazilian airline will offer low fares and use a point-to-point route structure that flies travelers from one city to another without layovers.

The new carrier will face stiff competition from TAM Linhas Aereas and Gol Linhas Aereas , which together command more than 90 percent of Brazil's domestic aviation market.

But with the Brazilian economy booming and air travel expanding annually at a double-digit pace, Neeleman is betting there is plenty of room for a new player in an enormous country where travelers have few options and where airfares tend to cost 50 percent more than they do in the United States.

"We believe airfares in Brazil are too expensive. It's time to lower prices to allow more people to fly," Neeleman said.

Neeleman said the new airline, which still needs government approval, will aim to bring affordable air travel to under-served cities outside congested hubs like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

For its fleet, Neeleman chose the 118-seat Embraer 195, a stretched version of the roomy Embraer 190 that Jet Blue flies. The planes will be outfitted with two leather seats on each side of the aisle and live television broadcasts.

"Nobody likes middle seats," Neeleman said.

Neeleman already placed a $1.4 billion firm order for 36 of the planes, with options to buy 40 more. If all options are converted, the value of the deal could surpass $3 billion.

DISCOUNT AIRLINE PIONEER. Neeleman, 48, has a long history of shaking up the airline industry in the United States. He got his as a college student selling package tours to Hawaii before co-founding discount carrier Morris Air in 1984. In 1993, he sold Morris to Southwest Airlines for $22 million in stock. Five years later, he raised $135 million and started Jet Blue, whose electronic ticketing platform and leather seats with live TV helped redefine affordable air travel. Because he was born in Brazil, Neeleman is exempt from a law there that caps foreign ownership of domestic airlines at 20 percent. He was raised in the United States, but returned to Brazil at the age of 19 as a Mormon missionary, an experience that helped him polish his Portuguese language skills. Neeleman, a father of nine, said he is trying to persuade his wife to move the family to Brazil so he can give full attention to the new airline. For now, he plans to divide his time between Brazil and the United States. Last May, Neeleman was ousted as Jet Blue's chief executive after an embarrassing service meltdown that left thousands of passengers stranded and cost the airline more than $30 million. Since then, he has been none executive chairman, a role he said he may have to give up to focus on the Brazilian airline.

VASP (Viação Aérea São Paulo) was an airline based in São Paulo, Brazil. It had main bases at Congonhas Airport (CGH) and Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), São Paulo. The airline was established on November 4, 1933 by the state government of São Paulo and started operations in 1933. VASP was the first airline to serve the interior of the state of São Paulo. At the start of the 1930s, it was the only carrier to operate with land planes. At the time this was a real exploit due to the lack of adequate non-coastal airports. Many landing strips were improvised in flat pastures. This insistence on using only land planes led to the building in 1936 of one of the country’s most important airports, Congonhas, located in the city of São Paulo, far from the coast. During its early years, Congonhas Airport was popularly known as Campo da VASP ("VASP's [Air]field").

Although it had been remarkably well-run for most of its life as a state-owned company, by the 1980s VASP was being plagued by inefficiency, losses covered by state capital injections, and a bloated payroll for political reasons. Under the Brazilian government's neoliberal policies newly introduced at the time, VASP was privatized in 1990. A majority stake was bought by the VOE/Canhedo Group, a company formed by the Canhedo Group of Brasília and VASP employees.

Under the command of its new owner and president, Wagner Canhedo, VASP quickly expanded operations in the country, and created international routes, being the second Brazilian company to do so after 1965. However, after many years of mismanagement, financial losses, soaring debt and bad credit, in 2002 it cancelled all of its international operations to concentrate in the domestic market. By that time, VASP had plummeted from the second to the fourth position in the Brazilian airline market, flying an aged fleet of Boeing 737s (most of them of the obsolete -200 series) and Airbus A300s.

The company faced its worst crisis in 2004, which led to the suspension of service to many Brazilian cities and the cancellation of flights. As a result, VASP - once a proud, competitive airline - had its domestic market share reduced to 10%. On 27 January 2005, Brazil's then civil aviation regulator, DAC, grounded the airline from operating scheduled services pending a financial investigation. VASP was allowed to operate charter services until April 2005, giving it a chance to prove its financial stability in order to retain its air operator certificate.

As of December 2007, VASP is still not flying. The company's only activity is providing maintenance services to other airlines (in spite of all of VASP's troubles, its maintenance expertise and personnel never ceased to be held in very high regard). It has been operating under the new Brazilian bankruptcy law since July 2006, and had its recovery plan approved in 27 August 2006. VASP had planned to fly again in late 2007, but this did not happen, and there are no signs that it will happen in the near future. Services at time of closure VASP operated services to the following domestic scheduled destinations (as of January 2005): Aracaju, Belém, Brasília, Fortaleza, Foz do Iguaçu, Maceió, Manaus, Natal, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, São Luís, São Paulo, Teresina and Porto Alegre. Services ended before closure VASP once had a much more extensive network, which covered virtually every major Brazilian city with an airport and in the 1990s included such international destinations as: Buenos Aires, Quito, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Osaka, Seoul, Casablanca, Barcelona, Brussels and Athens, Frankfurt.

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