Rico Linhas Aéreas
|Hubs||Eduardo Gomes International Airport|
|Key people||Átila Yurtsever, Metin Yurtsever, Omer Yurtsever|
Rico Linhas Aéreas S/A was a Brazilian regional airline with its headquarters at Eduardo Gomes International Airport in Manaus, Brazil, authorized to operate scheduled passenger and cargo services in the Amazon region.
The airline was grounded on June 1, 2010 and on June 7, 2011 lost its operational license.
Rico Linhas Aéreas was authorized to operate as a regional carrier in 1996 but its history is much older. In 1952, the Turkish immigrant Munur Yurtsever, known as Commander Mickey, who worked as an airplane mechanic in Nova Xavantina, Mato Grosso, bought an aircraft and started to fly in the region. The operations consisted of transportation of cargo to gold-mining locations of the region using small aircraft.
During the 1960s, Mickey started a small charter and air taxi company called Taxi Aéreo Rondônia, specialized in flying to gold-mining centers of Rondônia and headquartered in Porto Velho. During the construction of the Trans-Amazonian highway in the 1970s, the company changed its headquarters to Manaus, and provided air services to the big construction companies that were building the highway.
Later, Yurtsever also created Rico - Rondônia Indústria e Comércio, a company that in 1980 would be merged with Taxi Aéreo Rondônia to create Rico Taxi Aéreo.
From 1974 to 1982 Rico Taxi Aéreo maintained a contract with Petrobras to provide air-transportation while it was searching for oil and natural gas in the Amazonian region. At that time Rico operated 23 Douglas DC-3s being the largest private operator of this type of aircraft in the world.
On November 1, 1996, while maintaining its independent air taxi operations, the owners of Rico Táxi Aéreo created Rico Linhas Aéreas, a regional scheduled airline. In 2005 Rico Linhas Aéreas was the largest regional carrier in Brazil serving Acre, Amazonas, Pará, and Rondônia.
However the 2008 economic crisis forced Rico to dramatically down-size its operations: between January and September 2008, Rico cancelled 90% of its operations reducing its participation to 0.02% of the market, operating only within the state of Amazonas.
Rico Linhas Aéreas temporarily suspended all scheduled flights as of June 1, 2010 for a major operational restructuring. Charter operations however continued. On June 7, 2011 the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil cancelled its operational license but Rico Táxi Aéreo remains operative.
In March 2010, before suspending its scheduled flights, Rico Linhas Aéreas operated services to the following destinations:
- Coari – Coari Airport
- Manaus – Eduardo Gomes International Airport
- Manicoré – Manicoré Airport
- Maués – Maués Airport
Terminated destinations before the suspension of services:
- Boca do Acre, Cruzeiro do Sul, Rio Branco, Tarauacá
- Barcelos, Carauari, Eirunepé, Fonte Boa, Humaitá, Ipiranga, Lábrea, Novo Aripuanã, Parintins, Santa Isabel do Rio Negro, São Gabriel da Cachoeira, São Paulo de Olivença, Tabatinga, Tefé, Vila Bittencourt
- Costa Marques, Guajará-Mirim, Porto Velho
- Altamira, Belém-Val de Cans, Itaituba, Santarém
The fleet of Rico Linhas Aéreas includes the following aircraft configured in all-economy class (as of June 2010):
|Aircraft||In Fleet||Passengers||Years of operation||Notes|
|Embraer EMB 110P1 Bandeirante||1||19||1996–present|
|Embraer EMB 120RT Brasilia||1||30||1997–present||3 operated between 1997 and 2008|
|Aircraft||Number||Passengers||Years of Operation|
|Cessna 208A Caravan||2||2000 - 2008|
|Boeing 737-200||3||2003 - 2008|
|Boeing 737-300QC||1||2006 - 2007|
Accidents and incidents
- 7 October 1978: Douglas C-47A PT-KVU of RICO Taxi Aéreo was damaged beyond economic repair when it overran the runway on landing at Carlos Prates Airport, Belo Horizonte. All 19 people on board survived.
- 30 August 2002: flight 4823 operated by the Embraer EMB 120ER Brasília registration PT-WRQ, en route from Cruzeiro do Sul and Tarauacá to Rio Branco crashed on approach to Rio Branco during a rainstorm, 1,5 km short of the runway. Of the 31 passengers and crew aboard, 23 died.
- 14 May 2004: flight 4815 operated by the Embraer EMB 120ER Brasília registration PT-WRO, en route from São Paulo de Olivença and Tefé to Manaus crashed in the forest at about 18 nm from Manaus. All 33 passengers and crew died.
- "Rico Linhas Aéreas (Brasil)" (in Portuguese). Aviação Brasil. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- Campassi, Roberta (20 October 2008). "Aviação Regional encolhe" (in Portuguese). Valor Online. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
- "A Rico informa:" (in Portuguese). Rico Linhas Aéreas. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "Ata da reunião deliberativa realizada em 7 de Junho de 2011" (PDF) (in Portuguese). ANAC. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
- "Frota atual das empresas brasileiras" (in Portuguese). Aeromuseu. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- "PT-KVU Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
- "Accident description PT-WRQ". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
- "Accident description PT-WRO". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- Rico Linhas Aéreas accidents on Aviation Safety Database
- Rico Linhas Aéreas Photo Archive at airliners.net