The Brazilian Aerospace Industry is known internationally mainly because of Embraer, but there are many other companies of this branch in Brazil. This article will outline the most important aspects of this business.
The aerospace industry covers the production and sales of airplanes, rockets, satellites, helicopters, and the components of these machines. In Brazil, this industry essentially makes light and medium-sized airplanes, even though there are initiatives in the other areas.
Most of the companies in this industry are located in the city of São José dos Campos, in the state of São Paulo. Other important regions are the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Minas Gerais.
Manpower is one of the main issues which must be dealt with by the Brazilian aerospace industry. Companies often complain about the lack of qualified work labour. As a result, it is not rare to see companies recruiting employees from other countries.
Even so, BNDES, the Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social Development, believes that this branch will employ around 78,000 people until 2020. Today, less than half of this number work in this area.
Embraer is the third largest aerospace company in the world and is the biggest of its kind in Brazil, owning almost 90% of the local market. Many of the other companies are directly linked to Embraer, being responsible for the supply of some components and the maintenance of airplane parts.
There are around 50 companies affiliated to the main representative institution of this industry in Brazil, named AIAB or Associação das Indústrias Aeroespaciais do Brasil. Many operate only in specific areas, others are Brazilian subsidiaries of foreign companies. Some of the biggest companies of this branch in Brazil are:
Below are a few of the Brazilian subsidiaries of foreign companies:
- Helibras, controlled by Airbus Group
- Latecoere do Brasil, controlled by Groupe Latecoere
- Sobraer, controlled by Sonaca
Imports and Exports
On one hand, mainly because of the power and size of Embraer, the value acquired by the Brazilian aerospace industry through exports is higher than the amount spent on importations, according to IPEA, short for Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada. Recent results published by AIAB show that Brazilian exportation is responsible for revenues around BRL 6 billion.
On the other hand, the number of importing companies is much bigger than those exporting. Brazil imports the biggest amount of the needed parts and pieces from other countries, being very dependent on the supply from countries like the United States, China and European nations.
Brazil’s Investment in Space Projects
The most recent researches show that, in 2012, Brazil invested almost BRL 443 million on the Agência Espacial Brasileira or AEB, which is the agency responsible for space projects in the country. This includes spending on satellites and applications, infrastructure, research & development and human relations.
The first Brazilian satellite was launched in 1993 and was named SCD-1. Ever since, 15 applications were produced by Brazilian entities, but five of them presented some kind of failure. The most recent was CBERS-3. This satellite was built along with China, but a failure in the Chinese rocket responsible for the launch made the experience unsuccessful.
While Brazil’s experience with satellites and space applications was developed just recently, the presence of Brazilians in outer space is practically non-existent. So far, Marcos Pontes is the only Brazilian astronaut to ever go on a mission,spending 10 days at the International Space Station, in 2006.