June 17, 2009: Brazil has agreed to a deal where Chinese sailors will learn aircraft carrier operating skills on the Brazilian Navy's carrier, the "Sao Paulo." Nine years ago Brazil bought the 32,000 ton French aircraft carrier Foch (which was still in service) for $12 million, updated it and renamed it. The navy has not been able to get much cash out of the government to further refurbish the 46 year old Sao Polo, and apparently the Chinese deal will change that.
The "Sao Paolo" was headed for decommissioning, and has been used mainly to train carrier pilots for the last few years. The "Sao Paolo" entered service in 2000, and the Brazilians retired the " Minas Gerais", a World War II era (British) Colossus Class carrier a year later (after 40 years of service). So the Brazilians have a long tradition of carrier operations, and sufficient experienced carrier sailors to teach the Chinese some useful things. Brazil has long been the only South American nation to operate a carrier.
The Sao Polo has a crew of 1,900 and was designed to carry 35 warplanes (smaller, older models like the A-4) and four helicopters. This load can vary depending on aircraft type.