Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport
|Rio de Janeiro/Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport |
Aeroporto Internacional do Rio de Janeiro/Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim
|IATA: GIG – ICAO: SBGL|
|Serves||Rio de Janeiro|
|Elevation AMSL||9 m / 28 ft|
|Location within greater Rio de Janeiro|
|Metric tonnes of cargo||78,586|
|Statistics: Infraero |
Sources: Airport Website
Rio de Janeiro/Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (IATA: GIG, ICAO: SBGL) popularly known by its original name Galeão International Airport is the main airport serving Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is named after Praia do Galeão (Galleon Beach), located in front of the original passenger terminal (the present passenger terminal of the Brazilian Air Force) and where in 1663 the galleon Padre Eterno was built; and since January 5, 1999 also after the Brazilian musician Antonio Carlos Jobim: Galeão Airport is explicitly mentioned in his composition "Samba do avião."
Operated by Infraero, it is the largest airport site in Brazil. In 2010, the airport was ranked 4th in terms of transported passengers and cargo handled, and 6th in aircraft operations in Brazil, placing it amongst the busiest airports in the country. Furthermore, it is the 2nd busiest airport in terms of international air traffic in the country.
The history of the airport begins on May 10, 1923 when a School of Naval Aviation was established near Galeão beach on Governador Island. On May 22, 1941 with the creation of the Brazilian Air Force Ministry, the school became the Galeão Air Force Base; a terminal and hangars were built and the runway extended. Those buildings still exist and Galeão Air Force Base is still active. When Brazil declared war against the Axis on August 22, 1942, the aerodrome began to be used intensely by the Allies for military operations related to the World War II.
At the end of the war, Santos Dumont Airport was unable to handle the increased tonnage of aircraft flying on international routes and number of passengers. For this reason, international flights were gradually moved to the site of the Air Force Base. The services were however precarious and a decision was made to build a brand new passenger terminal, opposite to the Air Force Base, across the runway.
On February 1, 1952 the new passenger terminal opened and remained in use with enlargements until 1977. This terminal is presently used by passenger flights operated by the Brazilian Air Force. The cargo terminal (TECA) is also located in the area and all-cargo aircraft usually park at its adjoining apron. The whole complex is now informally known as the "old Galeão."
By 1970 the airport was Brazil's major international and domestic air-hub. In that year, its administration was taken over by Infraero, an agency then recently created by the Brazilian government.
As proof of the airport's prestige, the Concorde made its scheduled maiden-flight with Air France on January 21, 1976, flying from Paris – Charles de Gaulle to Galeão via Dakar. Those twice-weekly flights were discontinued in 1982. Furthermore, the 007 – James Bond production Moonraker (1979) shows the Concorde touching down at Galeão.
On June 6, 1967 in response the growth of the air traffic in Brazil, the Brazilian military government initiated studies concerning the renovation of the airport infrastructure in Brazil. As part of the conclusions of these studies, because of their location, strategic importance, and security issues, new passenger facilities would be constructed in the areas of Galeão Air Force Base in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo Air Force Base in São Paulo.
On January 20, 1977, when the airport was receiving all of Brazil's major international flights, this new terminal was opened and all scheduled passenger flights were transferred to the new building. This building is known today as Passenger Terminal 1. One of the features dating from this time is the sultry PA system announcements made by Iris Lettieri, which were featured on National Public Radio.
In 1985 the airport lost the title of the country's major international airport to São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport. At that time, a new runway allowing intercontinental flights with no weight restrictions was opened in São Paulo and Brazilian and foreign airlines increasingly used São Paulo as a national and international hub. As a consequence, the number of transiting passengers dropped. Constant efforts were made by the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro to reverse the trend. As a result, after stagnating for years embittered by the loss of domestic flights to Santos Dumont and international flights to São Paulo-Guarulhos Airports, Galeão has – since late 2004 – gradually recovered its importance in the national and international spheres with addition of flights and airlines.
During the year 1991, Passenger Terminal 1 underwent its first major renovation in preparation for the United Nations Earth Summit held in 1992. Its annual capacity was increased to 7,5 million passengers/year. On July 20, 1999 Passenger Terminal 2 was opened. Presently, the airport has those two passenger terminals in elliptical format, each with twelve jetways and capable of handling 7,5 million passengers annually.
On April 26, 2011 it was confirmed that in order to speed-up much needed renovation and up-grade works, private companies will be granted a concession to explore some Infraero airports among them, on a second phase, Galeão. The plan was confirmed on May 31, 2011 and it was added that Infraero would retain 49% of the shares of each privatized airport and that negotioations are expected to be concluded on the first half of 2012.
One of the two TAP Maintenance & Engineering centers in Brazil is located at Galeão International Airport.
Terminals, airlines and destinations
Accidents and incidents
Major accidents involving fatalities
The airport is located 20 km (12 mi) north of downtown Rio de Janeiro.
There are executive (blue) and ordinary (yellow) taxis available and bookable on company booths at the arrivals halls.
Real Auto Ônibus operates executive bus 2018, that runs half-hourly (between 05:30 and 22:30 hours), from the airport to the Central Bus Station, Rio de Janeiro downtown, Santos Dumont Airport, and the southern parts of the city along the shore, with final stop at Alvorada Bus Terminal in Barra da Tijuca. Bus 2918 follows a similar schedule to to Alvorada Bus Terminal following a different and more direct route. Bus 2145 is an express link between Galeão and Santos Dumont airports via the Central Bus Station and downtown. Ticket counters for these bus services are located at the arrivals area of both terminals.
Viação 1001 operates bus 761-D from the airport to Niterói.
On August 31, 2009, Infraero unveiled a BRL819 million (USD431 million; EUR302 million) investiment plan to up-grade Galeão International Airport focusing on the preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup which will be held in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro being one of the venue cities, and the 2016 Summer Olympics, which Rio de Janeiro will host. The investiment will be distributed as follows:
- Airport information for SBGL at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
- Airport information for SBGL at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
- Current weather for SBGL at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for GIG at Aviation Safety Network
- Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport Photo Archive at airliners.net