Friday, June 29, 2007

Brazil Updates: The Swiss Connection

Without comment, here are some updates from the news in Brazil, translations by our Sao Paulo bureau chief Richard Pedicini. The Swiss Connection can be found in the final item.,,MUL60155-5598,00.html

Report points to problems in aviation sector
Air Force Department of Air Space Control makes diagnosis of country's situation.
2005 document reveals need to hire 1,400.
By G1, with information from Jornal Nacional [TV Globo evening news]

A report by the Air Force Department of Flight Control, received by the Senate aviation sector CPI (Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry) affirms that there is a shortage of controllers in the county and the system has reached its limits. ...

The report is from the end of 2005. A development plan for 2005 to 2009 and the Air Force winds up recognizing some of the criticism made by controllers [and cites] "rapid obsolescence and the limitations of equipment and systems."

In another section it says that "due to the increase in the demand for air travel, to the reduction of the separation between aircraft, (my italics) undesirable conflicts between air traffic sometimes occur." ... The document explains that "air traffic service organs are approaching the limit of their operational capacity, in terms of personnel and equipment." ...



Country has fragile control, official report attests
by Fernando Exman

Brasilia, June 28, 2007 - Poor quality aviation maps, gaps in communication and lack of personnel are bottlenecks in aviation. A secret Air Force document discussed yesterday in a closed session of the Senate Aviation Blackout CPI proved the fragility of the system for controlling air traffic and the country's borders. Produced in November of 2005, the system reveals that the systems of communications, navigation and surveillance have shortcomings. The Department of Air Space Control (Decea), the study demonstrates, has a deficit of personnel and equipment. Besides this, the maps used in Brazilian aviation have poor quality and the increase in demand has harmed the use of some airports and part of air space.

The document differs from the declarations of Brazilian Air Force (FAB) officials and repeated by president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has turned back the accusations of professionals in the area that the Brazilian air traffic control system has imperfections. The document in question is the Air Space Control System Development Plan, a document in effect from November of 2005 to November of this year and to which this reporter had access.

"I been saying that there are weaknesses in the system for a long time. The lack of equipment and personnel is a reality. It's easy to put the blame on human failure", said the president of the National Syndicate of Flight Protection Workers, Jorge Botelho, referring to the investigations of the accident which involved the Gol Boeing and the Legacy. ...


O Dia

Gol Tragedy
Analyst alerted to control failure
In the House, Vinicius Gomes said that FAB knew of problem before accident

Brasilia – Air Traffic Control Institute systems analyst Vinicius Lanzoni Gomes, in testimony to the House Aviation Blackout CPI, said he informed the Air Force authorities of errors in the air traffic control system three months before the accident between the Gol Boeing and the Legacy jet, which left 154 dead.

According to Gomes, because of this, he was threatened with firing at the end of the year. "I cannot remain silent. I concluded that it's better for me to pay than the Brazilian population pay", he said.

The analyst said that the controllers are correct when they affirm that the system induces errors and harms flight safety. "They can't speak because they're in uniform but I am a civilian, I'm disposable and have nothing to lose," he affirmed. ...

And here is the Swiss Connection.

Paulo Henrique Amorim

CPI congressman denounces "plot" by controllers

Congressman André Vargas (PT-Parana), member of the Aviation Blackout CPI, accused that the military air traffic controllers are in "collusion" with the representative of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers, the Swiss Christoph Gilgen.

Last Sunday, Gilgen gave an interview to the Folha de S. Paulo and said that "arrest and silence are things of dictatorships". During the interview, Gilgen said that "Brazilian air space has problems and there may even be another accident."

... Congressman André Vargas said in an interview with Conversa Afiada this Wednesday, the 27th, that he received accusations that Gilgen and the Brazilian military controllers, including those jailed, schemed to pressure the Government.

Vargas said that he received in his office, anonymously, copies of emails exchanged between jailed Brazilian controllers Moisés Almeida, Wellington Rodrigues, Carlos Trifilio and Gilgen.

In these emails, according to Vargas, they agreed on strategies to to put pressure on the air traffic system and strategies in relation to the media.

"That is so say, a Swiss comes, attacks our system, attacks Brazil, the national sovereignty, Brazil's image and says, "the pressure has to be kept up, the heading must be held, don't let any more fish out of the net'... Now, having access to these emails we perceive that it is a real plot to attack Brazil to solve one profession's problems", said Vargas.

Congressman André Vargas said that this movement can be classified as a mutiny on the part of the controllers. ...


1 comment:

Johnny B good! said...

Joe, thank goodness we have your voice back covering this fiasco! I should have posted a comment sooner begging you to stay in the fray!! Having lived and flown in Brazil for the past five years, I was concerned that the only voice of reason was finally consumed with frustration and was flying the coop. Keep up the good work and hang in there. I know it is tough but Joe and Jan need all the support they can get, because they won't find it in Brazil.