Jornal do Brasil
Were the lessons of the crisis forgotten?
A maxim of the cosmology of Brazilian public life, conceived by journalist Ivan Less, says that every fifteen years Brazil forgets everything it has learned in the last fifteen years. In the case of air transport, burned by crises on high, it appears that the period is far shorter: two years.
In September of 2006, the collision of a American Legacy jet and a Gol Boeing, which crashed in the jungle of Mato Grosso and killed the 154 people on board, called attention to the sector's precariousness. Suspicion fell on the air traffic controllers, who went on strike because of poor working conditions. Passenger movement had grown amazingly in the previous three years - just in 2005 the increase was 19% - but the investment in the infrastructure of control, and in equipment and the training of crews fell by almost half.
Last Saturday, 39.7% of the scheduled flights at the major Brazilian airports were delayed. Of the 1,469 flights scheduled up to 8 PM, 583 were late and 45 were canceled. Tom Jobim international airport in Rio de Janeiro had a higher incidence than average: of the 129 scheduled flights, 67 were late - more than half (51.9%). On Sunday, the situation improved a little - the average fell to 26.1% of flights delayed - but continued worrying. It is bad news for passenger on the verge of Christmas and the approaching New Year and the summer holidays, when movement usually increases 25%. Yesterday the martyrdom imposed on the passengers was again repeated: until the end of the afternoon, one in every four flights left late.
A poor beginning, then, for Operation Happy 2009, launched on Friday by the Ministry of Defense, which announced an increase in monitoring of the airports of Congonhas (São Paulo), Guarulhos (SP), Tom Jobim (Rio) and Brasilia (DF). That same Friday, the new president of Infraero, Cleonilson Nicácio Silva, took over saying that the era of the aviation crisis was a "page that's been turned". Saturday, the explanation for the delays was a system breakdown at Gol Airlines. Sunday, the breakdown was the baggage conveyor belts at departure for the same Gol.
Although minister Nelson Jobim argues that the problems registered limit the circumstances to Gol`s operations, the delays are a bad omen for period that is traditionally turbulent - and which has barely begun. The 2006 crisis resulted in the departure of the then Minister of Defense, Waldir Pires. At the time, the diagnosis was made that resources in the area were badly managed; the airports has no capacity to meet the rising demand; there was a shortage of air traffic controllers; the radars had blind spots; and radio communications were subject to failure. Were these deficiencies fixed? There's an excess of doubt for those questions.
One of the measures would be reformulating the airport infrastructure. Priority was always given to splendor and the millionaire remodeling of airports must be redirected to the operational sector. In the case of the problematic radios, one way of dealing with interference would be to substitute them for satellite communications.
Aviation in general is the responsibility of the Ministry of Defense, via the Air Force Command. But it's Infraero that administers the airports. And the passengers are under the care of the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC). All of these organizations should keep alert. To impose a new martyrdom on thousands of passengers would be to inform the country that the painful lessons learned two years ago have been forgotten. Blame it on carelessness.
JB ON LINE
House obliges release of aviation accident data
BRASILIA - The Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Committee of the House approved a bill by Congressman Vic Pires Franco (DEM-PA) which obliges the airlines that operate in the country to release official notes with the result of expert conclusions on accidents with victims. The report, even if provisional, should be released within 90 days of the accident.
If the airline does not release the information, it will be subject to a fine. The proposal alters the Brazilian Code of the Air (Law 7565/86). The proposal, which was considered under rules that dispense a floor vote, will now be analyzed by the Senate.
The text further determines that, until the definitive report is released, the airlines should release official notes every 30 days with the progress of the investigations. The objective is to maintain the victims' families continually informed of the result of the expert investigation.
The project was approved in the form of a substitute by the report referee, congressman Mendes Ribeiro Filho (PMDB-RS). The new reading does not alter the sense of congressman Vic Pires Franco's bill. The report referee merely changed which article of the Brazilian Code of the Air is to be modified, in case the proposal becomes law.
Currently, the investigation of aviation accidents in the country is entrusted to the Center for the Investigation and Prevention of Aeronautic Accidents (Cenips). For each accident a commission of investigation is created, and the time it has to present its final report depends on the complexity of the work. Cenipa is subordinate to the Air Force general staff (Emaer).
According to the organ, up to the first week of this month 17 accidents with victims were recorded in the country, involving airplanes and helicopters, causing the deaths of 37 people.
In 2006 and 2007, the number of victims reached, respectively, 215 and 270. In these two years there occurred two of the worst accidents in the country's history: the Gol crash in September of 2006, which caused the deaths of 154 people, and the explosion of the TAM airplane in July of 2007, which caused 199 deaths, including passengers and people on the ground.
Link to House news agency original article, with link to actual bill and progress: http://www2.camara.gov.br/internet/homeagencia/materias.html?pk=130185&pesq=