Guarulhos International Airport

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São Paulo/Guarulhos – Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport (IATA: GRU, ICAO: SBGR), formerly called Cumbica Airport after the district where it is located and the Air Force Base that still exists at the airport complex, is the main airport serving São Paulo, Brazil. It is located in the adjoining municipality of Guarulhos in Greater São Paulo. Since November 28, 2001 the airport is named after André Franco Montoro (1916-1999), former Governor of São Paulo.

In 2010, the airport was ranked 1st in terms of transported passengers, aircraft operations, and cargo handled in Brazil, placing it amongst the busiest airports in the country. However, Guarulhos was also rated third place in most flight delays among major world airports by Forbes magazine in January 2008, and in 2011, according to the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil, 25% of the flights left with delays greater than 15 minutes. Guarulhos has slot restrictions operating with a maximum of 45 operations/hour, being one of the three airports with such restrictions in Brazil.

It is operated by Infraero and some of its facilities are shared with the São Paulo Air Force Base of the Brazilian Air Force.

History

Guarulhos began operations in 1985, supplanting São Paulo-Congonhas Airport as the city's primary airport. Comprising 3,425 acres (14 km²), of which 5 km² is urbanized area.

All passenger traffic is divided between two passenger terminals (terminals 1 and 2), which together account for 260 check-in positions. The airport is operational 24 hours a day. Airport plans call for the construction of a new passenger terminal, to be called Terminal 3.

In 2010, the airport served more than 26.8 million passengers, an increase of 24% over 2009 and passenger volumes were 31% in excess of its capacity rated at 20.5 million per year at its present configuration. In order to relieve overcrowding at Terminals 1 and 2 Infraero announced on May 17, 2011 that the former cargo terminals of defunct airlines VASP and Transbrasil and presently used by Federal Agencies will be renovated for use as domestic passenger terminals with remote-only positions. This interim terminal arrangement is expected to be operational by December 2011 and is intended to remain in service until planned Terminal 3 is operational.

On April 26, 2011 it was confirmed that in order to accelerate much needed renovation and upgrade works, private companies will be offered partial ownership of some Infraero airports, including Guarulhos. The plan was confirmed on May 31, 2011 and it was added that Infraero will retain 49% of each privatized airport and that negotiations are expected to be concluded in the first half of 2012.

The Tropic of Capricorn passes directly through the southern tip of the airport.

Statistics
Terminals, airlines and destinations
Passenger

In addition to the scheduled airlines above, the airport is served by some airlines operating non-regular charter flights, including:

Scheduled cargo
Accidents and incidents
  • 28 January 1986: a VASP Boeing 737-2A1 registration PP-SME flying from Guarulhos to Belo Horizonte unknowingly tried to take-off from Guarulhos under foggy conditions from a taxiway. The take-off was aborted, but the aircraft overran, collided with a dyke and broke in two. One passenger died.
  • 21 March 1989: a Transbrasil cargo Boeing 707-349C registration PT-TCS operating flight 801, flying from Manaus to São Paulo-Guarulhos, crashed at the district of Vila Barros in Guarulhos, shortly before touch-down at runway 09R. That day, at 12:00 the runway was going to be closed for maintenance and the crew decided to speed up procedures to touch-down before closure (it was already 11:54). In a hurry, one of the crew members, by mistake, activated the air-dynamic brakes and the aircraft lost too much speed to have enough aerodynamic support (Stall). As a consequence the aircraft crashed at approximately 2 km from the airport. There were 25 fatalities which of these three were crew members and 22 were civilians on the accident site. As well as the 22 fatalities, there were also over 100 injured on the ground.
  • 14 September 2002: a Total Linhas Aéreas ATR42-312 registration PT-MTS on a cargo flight between São Paulo-Guarulhos and Londrina crashed while en route near Paranapanema. The crew of 2 died.
Access

The airport is located 25 km (16 mi) from downtown São Paulo.

Car

The airport has its own highway system: Rodovia Hélio Smidt Highway which connects the airport to Presidente Dutra Highway or Ayrton Senna Highway. Residents of Guarulhos can access the road via Monteiro Lobato Avenue.

Bus

Bus transportation is available through the Airport Bus Service, an executive bus line, administered by EMTU and operated by Consórcio Internorte - Área 3. This service provides transportation between Guarulhos and Congonhas airports, via Tietê Bus Terminal, Palmeiras-Barra Funda Intermodal Terminal, Itaim Bibi, Praça da República, Tatuapé subway station and the circuit of hotels along Paulista Avenue and Rua Augusta. The ride takes about one hour, depending on traffic.

Gol Airlines and TAM Airlines offer for their passengers free bus transfers between Guarulhos and Congonhas airports at regular times.

Pássaro Marron, a syndicate of the Internorte Consortium, offers a regular bus line (with a much cheaper price—about a tenth less) connecting Tatuapé subway station with Guarulhos airport every 30 minutes. Ticket counters for this service can be found at the Arrivals areas of both Terminals 1 and 2.

Viação Cometa offers daily departures to and from the airport and the cities of Santos, São Vicente, and Praia Grande.

Caprioli Turismo operates buses between the airport to the city of Campinas daily.

Pássaro Marron offers bus service to São José dos Campos with departures every two hours.

Viação Transdutra offers a line connecting the city of Arujá directly to the airport.

Taxi

Taxi stands are located at the two terminals just outside the Baggage Claim areas. It is recommended that travelers use one of the airport taxi companies operated by Guaracoop, a cooperative of taxi drivers that hold the monopoly to operate taxi routes at the airport. The fare can be pre-paid at their counters.

Travelers requiring meet & greet services and higher quality vehicles, Sao Paulo Airport Transfers provides private taxi transfers to and from Guarulhos airport and a convenient booking and payment service via their English language website. Transfer times to popular destinations such as Jardins and Avenida Paulista can be up to two hours during peak traffic, or about 45 minutes in early morning or late evening.

Car Rental

There are car rental facilities at the airport.

Future developments

On 31 August 2009, Infraero unveiled a BRL1,489.5 million (USD784.7 million; EUR549.8 million) investment plan to upgrade Guarulhos International Airport, focusing on preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup which will be held in Brazil, São Paulo being one of the venue cities. The investment will be distributed as follows:

  • Construction of further taxiways. Value 19M. Completion: April 2011 (work not yet completed in August 2011).
  • Enlargement of apron and taxiways. Value 370.5M. Completion: July 2011 (work not yet completed in August 2011).
  • Construction of passenger Terminal 3. Value 1,100M. Completion: March 2014.

Central to this investment plan is Terminal 3, which is projected to add 12 million passenger capacity to the 17 million of the existing two terminals. Plans for a third runway were pronounced to be "technically impracticable" and were cancelled in January 2008.

A train service development and construction has also been given high priority. This include an Airport Express Line linking the airport to downtown São Paulo and a Rio–São Paulo high-speed rail connecting Guarulhos to Rio de Janeiro-Galeão and Campinas-Viracopos airports.