Folha de S.Paulo
Eliane Cantanhêde: International tiebreaker
BRASILIA - On announcing an "audit or consulting" to evaluate the Brazilian air traffic control system, minister Nelson Jobim recognizes that there are problems and wants a diagnosis before making changes. But: there are only five agencies in the world specialized in this, all of them foreign.
The Air Force Command says and repeats that the system is equivalent to those in the First World and attributes the 2007 aviation chaos to the air traffic controllers, who mutinied, struck and worked-to-rule only in order to, according to the FAB, cover up the gross errors of their colleagues involved in the collision between the Legacy and the Boeing in September of 2006 - the starting point of the crisis.
For their part, the controllers' leaders say and repeat that the system is obsolete, the equipment is constantly breaking down, the category's training is precarious and the salaries are demeaning, for which many, if not the majority, engage in other studies to leave the career.
The FAB alleged that it was enough to punish the leaders, remove their allies and fill the positions with military controllers (from air space defense) for everything to return to blessed peace. And the controllers responded that nothing improved, the objective conditions continue poor and soon everything will blow up again (let's hope that the airplanes don't...).
By e-mail, one of them said that, in Florianópolis, the telephone communications system has collapsed, four consoles have serious problems and there are no spare parts, and of three radar screens, only one works. I didn't go there and I don't know if it's true, but there's the warning.
As Jobim is not part of the FAB, nor a controller, nor a specialist in radars and consoles, his is doing very well in finding the truth with an international audit. Even if only because aviation is decisive in a continental country like Brazil, even more with a growth rate above 5% and people traveling ever more often. It's better to diagnose and prevent. Because, if it happens, there's no cure.