Monday, August 18, 2008

In Sao Paulo, the helicopter is a preferred means of travel for those who can afford it

My friend Andrew Hecht, pictured above, forwarded me an interesting article about Sao Paulo, Brazil, the site of my upcoming Adventure Travel Trade Association World Summit, Sept 3-7.

Published by The Guardian, Tom Phillips' story provides an interesting glimpse into increasing Brazilian affluence and the city's growing pains.


* According to Brazil's National Aviation Agency the number of helicopters in Sao Paulo state jumped from 374 to 469 between 1999 and 2008, making it the helicopter capital of the world ahead of both New York and Tokyo.

* The helicopter boom has transformed Sao Paulo into a real-life, South American episode of The Jetsons, with a constant flow of helicopters jittering through the city's skies, tiny spots ducking and diving as they make their way from helipad to helipad.

* Traffic jams often stretch to more than 130 miles in greater Sao Paulo, a sprawling megalopolis accommodating around 20 million people and 6 million cars. Last year more cars were sold here than ever before with nearly 1,000 new vehicles hitting the roads each day.

6 million -Cars in Sao Paulo

70,000 - Minimum number of helicopter flights within central Sao Paulo each year

11,000 - Annual flights and landings at London's main heliport, in Battersea

820 - Helicopter pilots work in Sao Paulo; each can earn $100,000 a year

420 - Helipads in Sao Paulo - 75% of Brazil's total and 50% more than the whole UK