Brazil’s Airports Scramble To Modernize

Most press accounts say Brazil is woefully behind schedule in airport and other infrastructure improvements as it prepares to host the World Cup next year.

As we researched this story, we had the good luck to run into Gabriel Serrano and Guillermo Gonzalez, both of Aeroservicios Ground Support Equipment, Miami, FL, at last month’s AviationPros LIVE in Las Vegas, NV, and who both knew a thing or two about the GSE market throughout Latin America.

“The South American GSE market is really made up of two markets,” Serrano says. “One market is for Brazil and the other market is for all others. It really is two different worlds.”

Established in 1996, Aeroservicios has quietly grown to be one of the biggest suppliers of refurbished GSE worldwide. More than 70 technicians and mechanics work out of its more than 110,000 square foot Miami warehouse. The facility includes a sandblasting booth, paint booth, assembly line, engine and transmission shop, spare parts and stock area.

The company has more than 1,300 pieces of GSE in stock from towbars to cargo loaders. As part of the business, its GSE-Rentals division also offers rental programs for all GSE needs.

“We work with some ground handlers in Brazil, and all of them are worried on how to handle such a big volume in flights in such a short time,” Serrano adds regarding the run-up to the World Cup and Olympics. “This is the big question.”

About a third of Aeroservicios’ business is sold in the United States, with rest of its sales spread throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. However, less than 2 percent of that business is in Brazil.

Serrano points to import restrictions and high duty fees as the culprit for low sales, but then adds the real deal killer – used GSE is not permitted as a permanent import.

“There are some special conditions for foreign airlines,” Serrano explains, “that allow them to import new and used equipment for their own use.”

Serrano mentioned one Brazilian GSE manufacturer we were unable to find out much about. He didn’t share a high opinion of it. “The prices are very high and the technology is very old,” he said. “But this is the only option many in the country may have.”

Despite tariffs, Serrano said Hobart, Tug Technologies and TLD had good presence in the Brazilian GSE market.

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