São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport
Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport was formerly known as the Cumbica Airport providing service to the Sao Paulo area of Brazil. In 2001, the airport was renamed to rather lengthy Sao Paulo/Guarulhos-Governador Andre Franco Montoro International Airport. Andre Franco Montoro served as governor of Sao Paulo from 1983 to 1987. The airport is more commonly known by the shorter Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport or by the airport code of GRU.
In the early 1980s, the facilities of the Sao Paulo Air Force Base were expanded to accommodate civilian air traffic. This included lengthening runways and constructing terminals. Further expansions occurred later that same decade increasing the airports capacity to more than 8 million passengers per year. Additional terminal space added in the early 2000s increased capacity to about 12 million passengers with an upgrade in 2009 raising capacity to about 20 million people. The airport currently has about 30 million people pass through its gates each year.
Future expansions hope to increase capacity for the additional passenger traffic expected in the future. Expansion discussions have included adding a runway, terminal and improving transportation within the airport and between the airport and Sao Paulo.
Airfreight is a major part of the operation at Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport. Five cargo terminals provide loading and unloading docks for up to 20 aircraft the size of a Boeing 747. The cargo terminals contain the standard secured and bonded storage along with facilities to handle fresh foods and live animals. The airport is part of a Foreign Trade Zone but largely handles domestic cargo. The cargo terminals handle about 450,000 tons of airfreight each year.
Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport Operations
The airport operates two parallel runways of about 3,500 meters or 11,000 feet. The runways have a capacity to handle the Boeing 747 and are equipped with instrument landing systems. The airport operates around the clock with more than 250,000 landings and takeoffs recorded each year. The air operations count includes the operations of aircraft of the Brazilian Air Force’s Sao Paulo Air Force Base.
Officials at the Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport have launched a project to help the adolescent children often seen in and around the terminal area. Children over the age of 16 who comply with requirements are provided with internships working at the airport as a way to reintegrate them into the working community. The program requires participation in educational, sports, or cultural activities in order to participate.
Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport lies directly on the Tropic of Capricorn. The Tropic of Cancer is the point on earth where the sun is directly overhead during the winter or December solstice. The area north of the line is considered to have a tropical climate while areas to the south are more temperate.
Sao Paulo may not see the expected increases in traffic anticipated at places such as Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. However, a general increase in traffic to Brazil is expected over several years, which will impact the activities of the Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport over the next years.