About São Paulo

Airports - São Paulo

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There are three major airports serving the city of Sao Paulo (as well as one medium airport, used mostly by private jets and helicopters).

Guarulhos Cumbica Airport

This is the biggest airport in Sao Paulo and Brazil.


According to statistics by Infraero, in 2011 Cumbica had a transit of nearly 30 million passengers (airport Tom Jobim, in Rio de Janeiro, second busiest, reached 15 million passengers).
Nearly 12 million passengers came from outside the country, making Guarulhos the main gateway of foreign visitors to Brazil.

Until February 2012, Cumbica was managed by State owned company Infraero; then, after a successful bidding, private operators took over.

However, years of bad management (Infraero, despite collecting some of the highest boarding taxes in the World, had no money for investments) left a daunting scenario: the airport operates above capacity, there is shortage of landing slots for aircrafts, the cargo sector is saturated, there is a serious lack of slots in the parking space.

The lack of planning is also visible in other services, like the lack of restaurants, baggage lockers and internet access.

The connection of the airport with the city is another serious problem.
There is not a metro or train station in the airport; commuting options are (expensive) taxis and (few) buses.
Depending on traffic conditions (Time Magazine say that Sao Paulo's traffic jams are the worst in the World), it can take up to two hours to get from the airport to the hotels sectors of the city.

There are projects for the building of a new airport in Sao Paulo, but until it is ready (not before 2016), the city will suffer the sequels of the years of Infraero.

Congonhas airport

Conveniently located near the business heart of the city, the Congonhas airport is the favorite of everyone flying to and out of Sao Paulo.

While Cumbica is the main international gateway, Congonhas is the largest national hub in Brazil.
Most flights serve the air bridge between Sao Paulo and Rio, but there are routes to all other major cities in Brazil.
In 2011, nearly 17 million passengers (all in domestic flights) passed by Congonhas.

Because of the proximity to the city center, Congonhas is much sought by business people; a consequence is that ticket prices of flights landing in and departing from Congonhas are higher than the same flights in Cumbica.

There are shuttle services between Congonhas and Cumbica.

See this page about the Congonhas airport.

Viracopos

Located in the city of Campinas (third richest city in the State), about 100 km from Sao Paulo.

For decades, Viracopos (which means "turn glasses") used to be the international airport of Sao Paulo, while Congonhas was the national airport.
After the opening of Cumbica (which became the international hub), Viracopos lost importance for the traffic of passengers, and became mostly a hub for arriving and distribution of international cargoes.

In recent years, as Cumbica and Congonhas became uncapable of handling the traffic of passengers, Viracopos started to regain importance.
WebJet and Azul, two newly arrived airlines, have preferred to use Viracopos as host, due to lower costs; the companies maintain a shuttle service between Campinas and Sao Paulo.

Campo de Marte

For years, the Campo de Marte (Field of Mars, named after its counterpart in Paris) used to be the training park of aspiring pilots.

However:
The number of passengers grew fast, over saturing Cumbica and Congonhas; and
The number of millionaires in Sao Paulo grew fast, and those people needed space to land their new jets and helicopters;
hence:
Campo de Marte is used today as a hub for private jets and helicopters.

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