Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport
Travelers to or from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, commonly utilize Rio de Janeiro/Galeao-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport as an access point. The airport, known by the airport code GIG, was originally named Galeao International Airport in honor of a 1663 event at a nearby beach where a ship was constructed. In addition, the name honors Antonio Carlos Jobim for his contribution to the Brazilian music culture. Its rather lengthy official name is commonly shortened by the local residents to Galeao International Airport.
History of Rio de Janeiro Airport
The airport’s location on an island plays a part in its early history when the Brazilian Air Force operated a flight training school on the location. This facility was converted into the Galeao Air Force Base in 1941, which saw use by the American forces, and other Allied forces, during World War II. Commercial passenger operations began in the years after the war. The military base and the commercial airport continue to share the facility. The airport has seen some historic moments including the inaugural flight of the Air France Concorde. The super-sonic aircraft arrived in Rio de Janeiro in January 1976 with service continuing through 1982,
Galeao International Airport utilizes two terminal labeled 1 and 2. Terminal 2 was constructed in 1999 and is the newest of the two facilities although both share a similar design and have nearly identical capacity. Between the two facilities, the airport has a capacity of 15 million passengers served by about 170 check-in counters and 31 gates. The airport currently operates at near capacity.
The airports two runways are each capable of handling aircraft the size of an Airbus 340 and smaller. The longest runway is about 4,000 meters or 13,000 feet long. The shorter runway is about 800 meters shorter. Because of the airports island location, emergency services equipment includes boats equipped for water rescue. The airport operates around the clock and sees about 150,000 take offs and landings each year.
Future plans for Rio de Janeiro/Galeao-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport include upgrading and modernizing Terminal 1 which is used for domestic flights. With the airport currently operating near its capacity the upgrades may include additional gates and counters to increase capacity. The project is intended to add capacity on pace with anticipated growth in passenger demand. Government leaders had contemplated privatizing the airport but that plan has been delayed or possibly abandoned.
One recent upgrade at Galeao International Airport has streamlined the check-in process. Automated check-in kiosks provide a quicker way for passengers to move through the check-in process and prepare for boarding. The move comes as part of the upgrades designed to expand capacity and improve efficiency for the anticipated passenger increases at Rio de Janeiro/Galeao-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport. The kiosks accommodate both domestic and international passengers.
International officials have voiced concerns about airport capacity at Rio de Janeiro and its ability to meet growing demands. Airport officials acknowledge the increasing demand although the political and financial climate may impact the ability of the airport to make the desired upgrades.