The Companhia Caminho Aéreo Pão de Açúcar (The Sugarloaf cable Car company), a privately-owned Brazilian company, was founded in 1909 by engineer Augusto Ferreira Ramos and a group of friends with a seed capital of 360 contos de réis (the Brazilian currency at the time).
Augusto Ramos ran the Company from 1909 to 1934. He was replaced by businessman Carlos Pinto Monteiro, who managed the Company in the following 28 years.
Engineer Cristóvão Leite de Castro took over management of Companhia Caminho Aéreo Pão de Açúcar in 1962, and was Director-President until 1999.
In 1993, his daughter, architect Maria Ercília Leite de Castro, replaced him as General Director of the Company and has managed the company to this date.
The mission of the Sugarloaf Cable Car Company is to safely and comfortably convey visitors to a world of enchantment, constantly investing in innovation to generate happy and unforgettable experiences while valuing the Brazilian culture.
The Sugarloaf Cable Car Company (Companhia Caminho Aéreo Pão de Açúcar) is constantly seeking to improve the excellence of the services it offers to tourists, and is now planning to invest its own resources to further improve the tourist complex. In the last five years, more than BRL 25 million were invested to modernize the tourist complex on the Morro da Urca and Sugarloaf mountains.
For example, approximately BRL 800 thousand have been invested in the Plano Inclinado project, which provides for installation of access platforms for people with special difficulties and is now in its implementation stage. In addition to this, another BRL 300,000 have been invested to replace the elevators used by disabled persons.
Another improvement was the development of the cable installations at the tourist spot, and for transportation of clean water and wastewater, electric energy and other inputs, BRL 5 million were invested. The plan is estimated to provide a return of investment in three years.
In 2008 and 2009, new cars with innovative design, a new ventilation system and smoked anti-reflex glass, as well as a digital command and power system replaced the previous, analog ones that had operated during thirty-six years. A total of BRL 18 million were invested in this renovation project.
In addition to applying large amounts of resources in improving the tourist complex, the company constantly invests in the qualification and learning of its highly specialized employees, regularly trained by our Technical Management team. We are proud of the fact that our cable cars have safely transported about 40 million visitors with an operating system that is considered a worldwide benchmark.
The Natural Environment
With woods for hiking, and calm places to relax, read, or simply enjoy birds singing, the tourist complex reflects our concern with the natural environment.
In 1981, the Company launched a program to reconstitute the vegetation on the slopes of the mountains, removing the fire-prone guinea grass.
The Plan for Reconstitution of the Vegetation of Morro da Urca and Pão de Açúcar, started by the Company in 1983. It was conducted by the Institute for Nature Conservation (Instituto de Conservação da Natureza), in association with the State Secretariat of Science and Technology.
“Operation Vegetation”, as the reforestation program was called, covered an area of 100,000 square meters. A total of 20,000 ornamental and fruit trees were planted with seedlings from the city’s Botanical Garden, and a landscape enrichment plan was designed. The local fauna was also reconstituted using animals arrested by the General Department of Renewable Natural Resources (Departamento Geral de Recursos Naturais Renováveis).
The native tibouchina trees, as well as palm trees, begonias, orchids, ferns and a number of other species have now returned to the mountains. The rebirth of the tropical forest brought back the monkeys, as well as collar birds, tanagers and other birds. The Morro da Urca and Sugarloaf plateaus were also planted with jackfruit, ficus, avocado and guava trees. Reforesting of the Cara de Cão and the Sugarloaf mountains took four months and also brought excellent results, attracting birds like the scarlet macaw, seriema, yellow-breasted toucan, and mangrove parrot by distributing appropriate food in 50 bird feeders spread amidst the vegetation. A whole team of employees was in charge of local conservation and a veterinarian was assigned to assist the birds. In 1993, these animals were donated to IBAMA, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources.