Helicopter in Sao Paulo from The Guardian Photo: Eduardo Martino
Congestion on the roads in São Paulo
Gridlocked highways in São Paulo
High above Sao Paulo's choked streets, the rich cruise a new highway

As the economy booms, the number of helicopters in this vast city is soaring

São Paulo is the private helicopter capital of the world, with the crime, congestion, pollution and concentration of the country's very rich helicopters are seen as essential.  According to Brazil's National Aviation Agency the number of helicopters in Sao Paulo state jumped from 374 to 469 between 1999 and 2008, making it the helicopter capital of the world ahead of both New York and Tokyo. 
Traffic jams often stretch for 130 miles in Greater São Paulo, a sprawling megapolis with 20 million people and 6 million cars. And with the economy growing coupled with the lack of trains and political power of the automobile industry, recent years - even since this article was written in 2008 - have seen bumper years for auto sales, many people are entering the middle class from lower classes and becoming car owners, the traffic jams just will get worse

At a glance

6 million

Cars in Sao Paulo

Minimum number of helicopter flights within central Sao Paulo each year

Annual flights and landings at London's main heliport, in Battersea

Helicopter pilots work in Sao Paulo; each can earn $100,000 a year

Helipads in Sao Paulo - 75% of Brazil's total and 50% more than the whole UK

article by Tom Phillips, the Guardian, Friday 20th June 2008 

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