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By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Since the start of the year, Brazil’s aviation industry, particularly on the domestic front, has been feeling the effects of the country’s weak economy and political turmoil. On Tuesday, June 21st, the Brazilian Association of Airlines (ABEAR) released its latest figures for the year so far showing that from January to May domestic aviation in Brazil fell by 8.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

GOL Airlines, photo by Leandro Ciuffo/Creative Commons License
Domestic airlines in Brazil carried 3.2 million less passengers in the first five months of 2016, photo by Leandro Ciuffo/Creative Commons License.

According to ABEAR figures, in the first five months of 2016, domestic Brazilian airlines carried a total of 36.4 million passengers, 3.2 million less than the same period last year. In the month of May alone, the volume of passengers fell 9.9 percent compared to the same month of 2015.

ABEAR is composed of the country’s four largest domestic airlines, Gol, Latam, Azul, Avianca. These airlines account for 99 percent of Brazil’s domestic aviation market, with Gol accounting for the largest portion at 36.8 percent. Latam is next at 34.7 percent, Blue at 17 percent and finally, Avianca at 11.3 percent.

In international flights market, national airline companies represent 25 percent of the market. Here, the number of trips in May stood at 544,000, which represents a 4.9 percent drop compared to May 2015.

Cargo transportation in the domestic market also declined in May 2016. The industry transported a reported 25,600 tons, representing a 14.6 percent drop over May 2015. Cumulatively, through the first five months of the year, 123,300 tons of cargo were transported, down 12.4 percent compared to January to May 2015.

ABEAR’s negative findings contrast with last month’s report from the Central Bank showing that spending by international visitors grew by 11.47 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year.

The aviation industry is also likely to receive a much-needed boost as 500,000 visitors are expected to travel to Rio for the 2016 Olympics beginning on August 5th.

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