Upon leaving office, former President Lula used to brag about leading economic changes in Brazil that allowed for the rise of a “new middle class.” Under his watch, Brazilians had access to higher average income and unemployment rates were lower than ever. That, indeed, empowered a new generation of consumers — even if Lula’s policies were very much helped by the commodity boom of the beginning of the century.
That rise in Brazilians’ purchasing power mirrors the evolution of the air travel sector in Brazil. During the Lula years, the number of passengers rapidly grew — from 37 million per year in 2003 to 85 million in 2010, his last year as head of state. But the numbers stumbled years later, during the worst recession in Brazil’s history, which reduced salaries and elevated unemployment.
In this piece, we analyze how the Brazilian air travel sector has evolved over the past 10 years.