Whether Atlanta will be able to support Delta Air Line’s new route to Brazil as well as the Brazilian carrier Varig Airlines’ existing routes to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro was an open question at the inaugural ceremony at Hartsfield International Airport last week.
But local Brazilians interviewed by GlobalFax think that the flight which begins in Cincinnati and then passes through Atlanta before heading for Brazil will be a stunning success.
Eduardo DeLascio, president of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, said that the new flight was justified by the amount of business between Georgia and Brazil already in existence, especially in the areas of telecommunications, energy and mining.
“We have 35 members in our chamber, all American companies,” he said, “and we expect that in a year from now that will increase to 100. There is so much business going on and so many law firms working on these deals that it is a wise decision to offer more seats.”
Wesley Veiga, a former district sales manager for Varig, which had a code sharing arrangement with Delta until recently, concurred.
“Atlanta does have a local market,” said Mr. Veiga, who currently is a partner in M&M Airfreight, which specializes in freight forwarding to Latin America, “and in Varig’s code share with Delta 50% of the business was local and the amount of local business is increasing.”
Mr. Veiga added that airports in Miami and New York are crowded when South American flights arrive in the morning. Atlanta, however, has few flights arriving at that time, easing congestion and reducing the time needed to clear customs.
“Business travelers know the delays at each airport,” he added, “and this will be to Atlanta’s advantage.”
Mr. Veiga also said that Varig’s flights from Brazil to Atlanta were doing well because of the feeding system of the domestic Brazilian airlines. While Delta currently is at a disadvantage on the return flights, he said that a tentative agreement with TransBrazil Airlines will make it more competitive.
Miguel Southwell, Hartsfield’s marketing and public relations manager, was equally enthusiastic about the prospects for the flight and others to South America. He said that Atlantans can look forward to direct flights to Venezuela, Argentina, and Costa Rica in 1998.