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Brazil Gets a Little Closer to Egypt by Air

Egypt Air A flight expansion agreement just signed between Brazil and Egypt may, eventually, serve to expand the demand for direct flights between both countries, currently inexistent. The 2005 treaty was renegotiated in early July of this year by Brazil's National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) and the Egyptian authority responsible for the sector.

Originally, the agreement forecasted four flights a week, now expanded to seven, i.e., daily flights. "According to the most modern perceptions, four flights are not enough to create a process of generation of demand. That only takes place with daily flights, as passengers must have flexibility in their flights," said the International Relations superintendent at ANAC, Bruno Silva Dalcolmo.

He mentioned the example of a passenger who travels on business and needs flights available to board when necessary and may change his ticket. The greater the number of flights, the higher the chance of attracting greater numbers of users to make possible the operation of a direct route.

For the flight to be created, however, airlines need to be convinced of its commercial viability. This requires studies to know the number of passengers traveling between both countries and changing flights in other countries, like the European ones, other Middle Eastern nations or countries in Africa, and how many would be prepared to migrate to a direct service paying the required price.

Despite the inexistence of a direct route, the life of those who travel between Brazil and Egypt, and vice versa, may be simplified from now on. The agreement now permits code share agreements between companies in both countries with airlines from other countries.

For example: a European company that operates in Brazil may sell tickets to Egypt, transport the passengers to Europe, and then the Egyptian company is responsible for taking them to their final destination. In the past, only bilateral code share agreements were allowed.

According to Dalcolmo, the initiative of renegotiating the agreement arose from the Egyptian civil aviation authority, which sought the ANAC early this year with the proposal of expanding the code share. The government of Brazil not only accepted but also wanted to go ahead and include the so-called "fifth liberty" in the treaty, allowing companies in both countries to operate at intermediary points, with the possibility of passenger boarding.

With this authorization, for example, a Brazilian company may fly to Lagos, Nigeria, passengers may board or leave there, and the flight may then head on to the final destination, in Cairo. Or there may also be a stop off in Egypt, leaving or collecting passengers, and then heading on to a more distant destination.

According to Dalcolmo, this is a system used when companies do not consider a direct flight viable, but identify good demand in routes with no stops, if they can sell tickets for different stretches.

Egypt is a signatory of the Yamussukro Declaration, which covers air agreements in Africa and reserves the internal routes on the continent to African airlines. That is, a Brazilian company cannot sell tickets to two different points in Africa.

As the Brazilian foreign policy, due to the Constitution, is based on principles of reciprocity, the government of Brazil cannot grant to another country a right that country does not grant to Brazil. Therefore, ANAC cannot authorize Egyptian aircraft to land in the country, board or leave passengers, and then follow on to other destinations in Latin America.

According to Dalcolmo, the current civil aviation tendency goes against this market reservation, as passengers are interested in efficient services and with greater connectivity. "That is how the work is being developed in Brazil," he said.

According to him, in talks with Egyptian authorities, the ANAC made it clear that Brazil is prepared to open the Latin American market to Arab companies. Under this logic, an aircraft from Egypt may land in Brazil, board or drop off passengers, and then follow on to Argentina or another point in the region.

The executive pointed out that the potential in this case is enormous. Just to mention an example, he said that flights from and to Argentina represent 22% of the entire international traffic from Brazil, losing only to routes to the United States.

Dalcolmo added that the possibility of reaching an ample market is used as a currency by Brazilian authorities when negotiating more advantageous agreements with other countries. "Brazil has been showing itself as a promising market," he said.

The treaty with Egypt allows for aircraft to make technical stops in intermediary points, without boarding or drop offs. "We did not reach what was ideal, but it was a good evolution," finished off the ANAC superintendent.

Anba

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