FBO – Brazil World cup 2014: Colt International

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colt International claims to be the world’s fastest growing trip support company and the World Cup features largely in its planning and strategy. “Although we are still waiting for the Brazilian authorities to set out the rules, there is a great deal that we have done ourselves to keep our clients informed,” comments Flavia Ribas, Vice President of Operations for Colt International’s São Paulo office in Brazil.

Jeff Briand, Senior VP of International Trip Support at Colt’s Houston headquarters adds: “We’ve had a full team involved in planning for the Football World Cup for more than a year now. We’ve had meetings with the authorities and we’ve been running a series of training programs for our own staff. We have put agents in place to travel to the smaller airports in Brazil where they do not have much local support, so that our clients can stay in touch and get the help they require,” he comments.

Colt is expecting to handle some 200 jets for the Final in Rio. Briand points out that while Rio is a great city there are dangers for the unwary. Kidnapping is fairly commonplace as is street robbery. Those going to the World Cup need to take sensible precautions to ensure their personal safety. He points out that Colt has worked very closely with FrontierMEDEX Security Services to produce a Security Report for the World Cup that is available as a free download from Colt’s World Cup site (http://coltinternational.com/media/documents/security-report-world-cup.pdf). “Pilots and passengers need to take the necessary precautions, as outlined in our Security Report to see that they do not get caught up in situations,” he notes.

Like everyone involved with planning for the World Cup, Briand expects parking jets for any length of time at any of the match airports to be next to impossible. “It seems very likely that whatever parking there is will be for FIFA, Heads of State, and teams. As a consequence we have partnerships with many different hangar operators and airports around São Paulo. There are five alternative modern airports around the city that we can use to reposition jets,” he observes.

The language barrier will be a problem for many owners, crews and charter operators. But Colt has ensured that there are local agents who are English speakers, who will be in attendance at the various airports to ensure things go smoothly.

One of the helpful things the authorities in Brazil have done so far is to make it clear that departures will be expedited. “What they are going to do is to have alternative slots, so if you have a last minute flight and no slot, the pilot can file a flight plan and they will be given the first window for departure. It might take a while, but you will be able to leave the airport,” Briand says.

Ribas had a meeting with the Brazilian authorities who told her that they were working on alternatives for those who do not get official slots. “It might take some tweaking, but we are confident that customers will be able to fly into Brazil and that they will be allowed to do what they need to do,” she notes.

Ribas and Briand point out that the Winter Games in the Russian town of Sochi posed some analogous problems. “Sochi has very limited parking so virtually everyone who flew into Sochi did so as a “drop and go” and the aircraft had to be repositioned away from Sochi. You might have thought that would be a major issue, but as it turns out, it wasn’t. The authorities showed a sensible amount of flexibility while the Games were going on and I feel confident that the Brazilians will do the same. They know that this is a huge, showcase event and so long as people respect the rules they lay down, there shouldn’t be a problem,” he notes.