It was after the collision of the Gol Boeing with the Legacy jet, which resulted in the deaths of 154 passengers that, placed in the center of the accident's causes, the controllers exposed their dissatisfaction with working conditions and opened a season of chaos at the country's airports, culminating in the mutiny in March of this year.
Today, representatives of the controllers protocoled at the Ministry of Defense their third request for an audience with the minister. The first two got no response.
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva doesn't want to know about the existence of this problem and also isn't considering receiving them.
There are close to 2,700 controllers entrusted with the control of civil aviation traffic, 80% of these being military (sergeants and sub-officials) and the other 20% being civil service system workers and workers under the ordinary labor laws. All of them work under the command of the Air Force and demand, as an initial step toward the solution of all the remaining differences, the demilitarization of air traffic control.
Currently, besides Brazil, the military controls civil aviation traffic only in Paraguay and Uganda. One is not dealing with mere stubborn dislike for the model, the controllers argue. For them, militarization is at the heart of the enormous management difficulties for structural reasons.
"Dealing with the military is slow. We had already been complaining for three years about the 'black hole' in the Serra do Cachimbo range (where the collision between the Gol Boeing and the American jet occurred) and nothing had been done. But civil aviation is dynamic, it needs rapid responses", one operator evaluated.
After the March mutiny, Lula gave the Air Force commandant, Juniti Saito, carte blanche to resolve the controllers' case.