Eduardo Sanovicz, president of the Brazilian Airlines Association (ABEAR), told a press conference that he expected stability in the first half of the year and growth in the second. “The performance of the sector is linked to the performance of the economy, of the GDP,” he noted. Amid expectations of GDP growth of around three percent this year, he said the aviation sector “could grow nine or 9.5%.”
Sanovicz said total demand in 2012 grew 7.14% over the previous year.. In December, seat availability rose 5.1% over the previous month, said ABEAR, which added that its five member airlines — TAM, GOL, Avianca, Azul and Trip — carried 75 million passengers in 2012.
Brazil’s top airline TAM, which merged with its Chilean counterpart LAN last year to become Latin America’s biggest airline, retains a 43.9% share of the domestic market, followed by GOL with 34.6%, Azul with 10.5%, Avianca with 6.5% and TRIP with 4.6%.
As the country prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, many of Brazil’s 70 airports are congested or in urgent need of an upgrade. Proposals by the federal government to privatize the airports in Rio and Belo Horizonte have been welcomed by Sanovicz, as well as plans to build 800 regional airports across the country.