As recently as 20 years ago the remote Brazilian town of Jericoacoara had no roads or electricity.
The northernmost town in the state of Ceara, it is located around 300 kilometers west of the city of Fortaleza.
It has gradually become more modernized—electricity was finally installed in 1998—yet the fishing community is still a world away from the hustle and bustle of Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo.
The importance of connectivity to remote communities such as Jericoacoara is invaluable
Over the past decade though, visitor numbers have risen. The town has become popular with tourists, its beautiful beaches and warm sea water making it perfect for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Visitors typically fly into Fortaleza airport, before taking a bus to Jericoacoara, which takes just over seven hours.
The importance of connectivity to remote communities such as Jericoacoara is invaluable. As the largest country in South America—and the fifth largest in the world—the sheer vastness of Brazil poses huge challenges in this regard, as natives and tourists alike seek to explore the country’s fascinating sub-cultures.
As well as tourism, vital services—such as the delivery of medicines—rely on strong transport links.
For some cities served by aviation in Brazil, the only alternative to domestic air travel would be a five-day boat ride. But while more than 120 Brazilian cities receive airline services, work still needs to be done.
Brazil also needs to loosen its tight regulatory grip on the air industry
Funding of smaller, more remote airports has traditionally been a challenge but the industry is hopeful the Development Plan for Regional Aviation will be implemented.
The improved transport links this plan facilitates will be vital as the country aims to recover from a period of economic uncertainty.
Brazil also needs to loosen its tight regulatory grip on the air industry which has complicated the expansion of the airlines and overcomplicated their operations in the country.
The importance of connecting remote communities is mirrored worldwide. For many islands, such as Fiji, access to the rest of the world is only possible by air. Also in northern towns of Canada, and some remote communities in Africa—where road infrastructure barely exists and would uneconomical to develop—aviation provides access to vital services such as health care.
For Jericoacoara, a new era beckons. The town’s new airport will connect it to the world—and create opportunities for the town’s economic fortunes to prosper.