Helicopter City - Sao Paulo Brazil's Helicopter Dream

by 24BRASILTVOct. 18, 2020, 2 a.m. 27

Brazil is one of the most exciting markets in the world for all things aviation. But when it comes to Helicopters, they can't be beaten. If you enjoyed this video today, consider subscribing! ---------------------- In the city of Sao Paulo alone, considered Brazil's financial center, there are 400 registered helicopters (700 in the state) flying over 700 trips per day, according to the latest study taken back in 2013. With 12 million citizens in the urban area, this means there is one helicopter per 17,000 people - which is the highest in the world. So the question is, why does Brazil have so many helicopters, and who is taking these 2000 flights across the state per day?It was reported that back in 2010 that 129 of the 215 helipads in the city were unregistered and were not monitored by authorities. Sao Paulo was known worldwide for its chaotic traffic and in 2014 set a new record with a traffic jam stretching more than 344 kilometers (214 miles) during a rush hour. With six million cars on the road in the country, there is simply no more room down below. Essentially, Brazil's infrastructure's failure to keep pace with its economic development has led to these mega-wealthy to consider other ways of getting around The interminable bottlenecks originally made the helicopter a virtually essential vehicle for top executives and the well-to-do in Brazil, especially in Sao Paulo, one of the cities with the largest number of millionaires in Latin America. And they pay top dollar too, for example, one helicopter dealership in Rio, that's right, they have dealerships like car dealerships, spruces a flagship aircraft - the Italian Agusta, which runs for roughly $6 million. A Versace interior is optional for an additional $2 million. Even politicians are getting on the trend despite the backlash. Back in 2013 Rio de Janeiro state Governor Sergio Cabral was exposed for flying a helicopter only six miles from his house to office every day, a flight over only three minutes. Costing the Brazilian taxpayer $1.7 million a year. According to FlightGlobal, the helicopter market in Brazil has been growing 12% a year, thanks to the demand for VIP transport in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, as well as a booming offshore oil sector. But how does the city manage all this traffic? Everyday control operators guide hundreds of flights between rooftop helipads and the airports through São Paulo's 13 dedicated helicopter air traffic corridors, including the cities elite private helipad that houses private helicopters for $50,000 a month. The tower controls all air traffic in the city, sans airport, of an altitude of between 2,000 and 3,500 feet. Over 3,500 feet, the helicopters are transferred to the main airport air traffic control. Some politicians have stepped in to try and curb the helicopter activities. city councilman Chico Macena proposed a law in 2007 that would have prohibited the departure and arrival of helicopters between 8pm and 7am, a minimum distance of 500 meters from all hospitals, schools, and universities. When the bill hit the mayors office in 2010, Gilberto Kassab, who himself flew up to 19 hours per month via helicopter, edited the bill. He limited the flight of helicopters to only between 11pm and 6am, maximum 30 minutes per neighborhood distance to sensitive structures to only 300 meters. If you want to hear the birds, then leave the city. Back in 2016, residents and tourists in Sao Paulo have been able to order a helicopter through Cabify, an associate of the Voom company of the Airbus group. A client can order a helicopter through Cabify or directly online from Voom up to 45 minutes before the desired flight time at prices some 80 percent less than traditional air-taxi services. Our goal is to make helicopter transport accessible to more people so that the helicopter is seen as an alternative," said Voom's executive director, Uma Subramanian. A five-minute trip from a hotel on Ave. Faria Lima to Congonhas Airport can cost between 160 and 400 reais ($65 to $129) depending on the promotional discount, compared with 3,700 reais (around $1,190) charged by one of Sao Paulo's air-taxi companies. Alas, Voom, and its competitive apps were victims to the current crisis plaguing us all and shut down in April this year. At its peak the app was managing 150,000 total active users and fly 15,000 passengers. The silicon valley team had aspirations to launch the app to other cities - Sao Pablo, Mexico City and San Francisco. Today, brazil's helicopter city has cemented itself as a place where aviation is not only a fix to a traffic problem but an evolution to the way we travel. Airbus and other companies like Uber have used it as a basis of future air transport such as the famous flying car. For Sao Paulo and other cities becoming like them, its not a matter of if helicopters will be the primary form of transport for the masses, but simply when.

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