Interview with Jurema Monteiro, president of ABEAR, Brazilian Association of Airlines

Jurema Monteiro, president of ABEAR, in an interview with Diário do Turismo talks about the Brazilian aviation market, the presence of women in the sector and tourism, tax reform and much more

(Source: Erivelton Viana)

Fuente: Diário Do Turismo.

Jurema Monteiro is the first female president of ABEAR (Brazilian Association of Airlines), the mission is great and Jurema responds with professionalism, kindness and courage, providing great experience.

In this exclusive interview, Jurema Monteiro spoke about his career, the challenges and potential of the aviation sector, tax reform, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and the legacy left by Eduardo Sanovicz. Verify:

DIARIO – Jurema, you worked in several travel agencies, taught at the University of Brasilia (UNB) and worked in important Brazilian tourism organizations, Embratur and the Ministry of Tourism. With all this experience, was it easy to accept the presidency of ABEAR?

Jurema: Easy, I wouldn't say it, but I think it was organic. It is part of my career, which has been built over the last 25 years, since I started working in the tourism sector. I come from a middle class family, working parents and civil servants, and I have always loved to travel, although my family did not have much access to it.

The first time I got on a plane, I think I was about 13, I thought it was incredible and I said, “ah, I want to do this for a living,” and I ended up choosing to study Tourism, and I had great opportunities and great teachers at work. Where I went...

With this I have been building a background that allows me to reach this position here at ABEAR with a certain comfort and knowledge, experience, to say the least, it is not that it is easy. But I think it's organic, it's natural to be here. Of course, there are many challenges, the airline sector, also the tourism sector, which is currently facing a very difficult time, in terms of costs, in the dialogue with consumers, in the dialogue with society as a whole. And a very important look at the future, like this: “How do we want to develop and contribute to the world from now on?”

So, this accumulated experience makes me confident that we have the tools to face these challenges, but there is a lot of work ahead.

“Create diagnoses, build relationships and involve people”

DIARIO – You also have a specialization in communication and a master's degree in co-creation at the University of Brasilia (UNB). Can you tell us a little more about these experiences and how important they are in your training?

Jurema: I think that throughout these years, all my training, from the university, to the specialization, to the master's degree, has contributed to forming a broader vision of the environments in which I navigate, where I “fly.” This is because, with my training in tourism, I understood the complexity of this ecosystem in the sector in which we work.

But the specialization in communication, and the master's degree, I think improved my ability to create diagnoses, to build relationships, I think that is fundamental for the development of my work today. It is based on information, on building relationships, but also on creating a common purpose. So I have to talk to people and I need to involve them in our agendas, in our topics, and the specialization in communication, the master's degree as well, helped me create those bridges.

“Women rising to leadership roles”

DIARIO – You were director and are currently president of ABEAR. In addition, she is the first woman to head the Association. Given that aviation is still a predominantly male sector, did she feel any resistance to taking on the role?

Jurema: I think that we women still have good challenges to overcome. I don't think that today we have a closed environment, on the contrary. Thus, ABEAR itself, for example, is a signatory of an agreement, a commitment, in fact, with the IATA, to have at least 25% women in management positions. In our case, we have more than that, because within ABEAR we are a leadership team. In addition to me as president, Karen is coordinating the entire Communications area and we have a very plural environment here. And I see this happening more and more among our associates.

In both GOL, LATAM and Voepass, we see women rising to leadership positions. I think we are always challenged by the external environment, but I think we are more challenged by ourselves. I think we, women, try very hard to be 100% efficient, and that's good. Because I believe we can offer work of the highest quality. But sometimes, in our competition between men, we could charge ourselves a little less, perhaps, and still deliver work. But, normally, we charge a lot.

A cozy atmosphere

I think I found a very receptive environment. When our Board of Directors, when making the decision to invite me to this position, knew about this challenge we have in the world. But precisely for that reason I think he also pointed out the possibility of having a black woman in the presidency, because this symbolizes a lot for our country, for the times we live in.

“Room to grow, with new companies and those that already exist”

DIARIO – How do you evaluate the Brazilian aeronautical market, with still few airlines that offer services to the population and a very high average fare for the general consumer?

Jurema: Aviation is a sector that behaves in a very similar way around the world. Even in very competitive markets, such as Europe, the United States or neighboring countries, we do not have a proliferation of many companies. It is a market that, in fact, requires a lot of capital. So to start an airline, a lot of investment is needed. And it is obvious that this investor will look at the entire environment in which he is entering: the legal security that this market has, the response of demand, the economic signals and indicators.

I think that in this context Brazil has proven to be very competitive and resilient. Our Brazilian airlines overcame the challenges of the pandemic without directly receiving any public investment, unlike many markets in the world.

They managed to overcome this through efficient operation. The teams were very efficient, and I think that today we achieved it there, with a joint effort, that involved ABEAR, that involved the Associates, that involved our Congress, that was sensitive to flexibility measures, for example, rescheduling and rebates, which helped businesses with cash at the time. So, in this context, I think they managed to overcome the most hostile environment in recent years.

Since 2018 we supported a Provisional Measure, which ended up becoming law and today allows the investment of 100% foreign capital in companies in Brazil. Before we had a 20% restriction, which was expanded to 100%. And it is very healthy that other investors come to the country, we understand that this is an open environment and that we must comply with it. But the fact is that at this moment we have not seen this come to fruition. Today, at least as far as I know, no foreign group is coming to the country providing resources for internal operations.

I think this also brings me back to those first questions: is the environment we have safe enough to attract these investors? Is it fashionable, from a demand point of view, to attract new investors? Having this convergence of actors, I believe that yes, we have room to grow, even with new companies. But also with the companies that are here, because they are very efficient.

Today we have, in Brazilian airlines, a requirement for punctuality, regularity, service, with a standard on par with any other competitive market outside Brazil. Although we have a low number of trips per capita. Today we have a very low number of trips per person and in a country like Brazil we know that this can increase and we are working for it.

At ABEAR, this is our mission. It is supporting the development of public policies, of measures that we can promote so that the sector grows, which is what we want most. Transport more people and serve more people.

“We defend that the Tax Reform is fair”

DIARIO – The Tax Reform project is being processed in Congress. In his opinion, does the adoption of a differentiated tax rate for the tourism sector solve airline bottlenecks?

Jurema: In fact, today we have several challenges. Thinking then about what has happened in the sector in recent years: during the pandemic we lived through a very difficult time, in which we greatly reduced company income and maintained, or even increased, operating costs. Because we saw an increase in the exchange rate compared to the pre-pandemic period. Then an increase in fuel prices and the question of the cost itself.

In general, we know that regardless of whether we are in the airline industry or not, our cost of living today is much higher than in 2019, before the pandemic. So, the great challenge we have today is to establish structuring measures so that we can return to a competitive cost environment. An environment in which companies can invest and grow.

One of the challenges raised is related to tax issues. Brazil has been debating a Tax Reform model for many years. And ABEAR has spoken out in defense of the Tax Reform, in that sense: having a system that simplifies will give us more efficiency. It is important for aviation, it is important for economic sectors. But we defend that this reform be done fairly, without increasing the taxable amount in the sectors.

Due to the way in which the text was approved in the Chamber of Deputies, analyzing this text, we realize that there is a risk and proof, in fact, of an increase in burden. And then this will harm us because the increase in load means more costs, more costs that cannot be absorbed by companies. And if they affect the user, they will make the product more expensive. We are talking about the risk that the sector will shrink and not be able to grow and become more attractive so that more tourists travel, so that more passengers travel.

We understand that a reduced rate, a good special regime, are important for Brazil to maintain what most of the developed markets that implemented it did. In other words, it means maintaining special treatment for the airline sector, which is a sector that ends up inducing economic development. Whether in the service, tourism or events sector. So, this neutrality through a reduced rate or special regime is what we have now defended in the Senate.

Future Fuel Program

DIARIO – ABEAR has supported the Fuel of the Future Program, which regulates the production and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Can you comment on how Brazil, especially the national airlines, is positioned on this issue?

Jurema: This is another important agenda for us, talking about the future, talking about the development of the sector from now on. At the same time that today we debate a lot about the current costs of the sector, using fossil fuels, we have been looking to the future and seeking to establish measures to meet the commitment that the aviation sector has worldwide to reduce or neutralize its emissions by 2050. .

The sustainability agenda is no longer a project, it is a fact, that is why we need to take care – each of us, citizens of the world – of the economic sectors, of the measures that help us have a more sustainable and balanced environment.

"Brazil has one of the youngest fleets in the world"

To reach this reality, the airline sector has invested a lot in research and development, and there are short, medium and long-term paths. In the short term, what can be done: it is possible to invest in technological innovation. Thus, for example, fleet renewal is something that helps us a lot to gain efficiency, reduce fuel costs and reduce emissions. And companies invest a lot in that, Brazil has one of the youngest fleets in the world.

Operational efficiency and route redesign

The second path in the short term is to gain operational efficiency, and until today we published a note talking about the joint work we have with the DCE, which controls the airspace, that we did redesign work or a recalculation of air routes throughout 2022 to gain efficiency.

So if I can connect one city to another with a shorter route and reduce the flight time, I reduce fuel consumption. Naturally, I reduce gas emissions. So, this is very positive work that we can develop now, in the short term, and ABEAR has actively participated in these agendas together with its partners.

Medium-term measures

In the medium term, to achieve neutrality, we are investing heavily in the use of credits in the carbon market. But for us to achieve this more safely, it is very important that Brazil advances in regulating the carbon market. Because, in the long term, the sector's biggest bet is the use of sustainable fuels.

But this is a measure that involves many decisions and investments and no matter how optimistic we are, Brazil has a lot of potential to develop in this agenda, it will take us a few years to reach the production of SAF, as we call it sustainable fuel. , in sufficient quantity to supply the sector.

Until we achieve this in the long term, regulating the carbon market is perhaps the most important intermediate measure we can invest in. Brazil also has a lot of potential to grow in this market. So over time, until 2050, we really hope that these 3 agendas, short, medium and long term, can grow.

We have been promoting a lot of discussion with the Government, promoting regulation of both the carbon market and a regulatory framework for sustainable fuel. Because in this regulatory framework we understand that there will be legal certainty and incentive elements for the production of SAF.

What is important to talk about when we talk about incentives? We know that the energy transition has a cost. Switching from fossil fuels to new fuels involves a large investment. But we have invested and talked to other countries, looking for good practices, to see that it is possible to do it, encouraging them. Looking for lines of financing, even subsidies. Even if it is subsidies so that we can come up with a new and economically viable fuel. Without this generating an increase in costs for the sector.

DIARY – What were the lessons that Eduardo Sanovicz left behind?

Jurema: I have worked with Edu for the last 21 years. We have known each other for many years and for the last 21 we have been very close. For 3 years at Embratur and 8 years here at ABEAR. So we had a very close relationship, Eduardo and I. I think he is a great teacher and he taught me a lot. I think, mainly, the biggest learning from him is related to how to deal with people.

Look, pay attention to people, value people, whether they are those who are in our daily lives, as a team, as a team, or the colleagues and friends we make throughout our daily lives at work. I think that was a great virtue of Eduardo, that he teaches us a lot.

And I think there is a second aspect, like this: Eduardo was a political being. He was always thinking, with his mind very attentive to movements and trends. And that being said, he pays a lot of attention to planning. He was always ready and he had something planned for what would happen next. Of course, we don't always get it right, but by having things planned, life becomes more orderly. And I think these two lessons stay with me: look closely at people and plan. Plan your life, plan your future.

DIARIO – Finally, what is your advice or message for women who also want to start or enter the airline and tourism sector?

Jurema: I think we should not be afraid. You have desire, you have to go after them, you have to prepare. I believe that studying and knowing the topics that are in our daily lives is essential. But what I said here is also true: that we cover ourselves less. May we believe more in our abilities and worry less too. Because I think this gives us more lightness to face challenges.

Fuente: Diário Do Turismo.

© Copyright 2022.
950 Brickell Bay Drive, suite 1811, Miami, FL, 33131. USA | Ph: +1 305 432-4388