The Minister of Mines and Energy, Alexandre Silveira, announced the creation of a working group with the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE) to study ways to reduce the price of aviation kerosene (QAV). The decision was taken after the president of Petrobras, Jean Paul Prates, went public to say that he will not lower the price of fuel “at the stroke of a pen” to help airlines.
On Monday (5), Silveira received the Minister of Ports and Airports, Silvio Costa Filho, who is in charge of a rescue plan for the airline sector. Affected by the economic crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic in recent years, airlines are awaiting measures from the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT).
The creation of a specific line of credit would be a condition for joining Voa Brasil, which would set the value of tickets for specific groups at R$200. There was an expectation that the program would be launched on Monday, which ended up not happening.
According to Silveira, the creation of the group within the scope of the CNPE, which still depends on approval, should support studies already carried out by the Ministries of Mines and Energy and Ports and Airports.
“We want to democratize air ticket prices in the country, making the middle class and less privileged people return to using airports, just as happened in President Lula’s first terms. And we know that the price of the QAV is decisive in the composition of companies’ tariffs”, stated the minister.
A few days ago, at a press conference, he said that making kerosene cheaper cannot be the only measure to reduce ticket prices.
“We have to sit down at the table quickly, very calmly to better understand what is happening. We cannot decontextualize and treat aviation just as a fuel issue,” he said. “We essentially have to consider the issue of the price of airline tickets and the price composition formula.”
At the end of January, Costa Filho announced a rescue fund for airlines of up to R$6 billion, which would be under discussion with the Ministry of Finance and the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES). At the time, he also said that he would contact Petrobras to discuss a reduction in the price of QAV, which represents around 40% of the costs of an airline in Brazil.
“We are, in the next few days, talking to the airlines and Petrobras, we are going to advance the dialogue with President Jean Paul, so that we can, next week, effectively present a proposal”, said the minister on the 25th.
The president of the state-owned company, however, argues that the price of QAV has already fallen by almost 41% since last year. “If there is a correlation between one thing and another, at least it would have to be at a standstill or dropping by 20%. Either there is a correlation, and that is important, or there is no correlation or it is not that important, and the problem lies elsewhere. And then it’s not up to Petrobras, it’s not our role,” he declared last week.
Regarding the fund, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad, confirmed that the government is evaluating a proposal, but said that there will be no contribution of resources from the National Treasury. “We will better understand what is happening. There is no help with money from the Treasury. What is eventually on the table is to enable a restructuring of the sector, but one that does not involve primary expenditure”, he explained, on Monday.
In line with Prates, the Minister of Finance stated that the price of kerosene cannot justify increases in air tickets, highlighting that the fuel has been on a downward trend during the current government. “Let’s clarify that the price of kerosene [de aviação] fell during our government. It cannot be a justification for increasing the cost of air tickets,” she said.