Theme Week: Spotting at Rio de Janeiro’s airports

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Brazil, South America, Spotting Hotels | Posted on 20-06-2014

0

BrazilThemeWeek

This post is part of a series on Brazil looking at aviation in the country to coincide with the 2014 football World Cup held there. The previous posts looked at the special World Cup liveries worn by various airlines in the lead up to the tournament, a general overview of airlines and airports in Brazil, Spotting at Sao Paulo’s airports, and Preserved Airliners in Brazil. In this post we’ll look at where to spot at Rio de Janeiro’s two airports.

Rio de Janeiro has two commercial airports: Galeão–Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, and Santos Dumont Airport.

Rio's Airports

Galeão is a joint air base with the Brazil Air Force. It is a major international gateway to Brazil, and the country’s largest airport site. It handled over 17 million passengers in 2013.

Santos Dumont is a smaller, primarily domestic airport situated closer to the centre of the city, on reclaimed land and in sight of the famous Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue.

Spotting at Galeão Airport

The airport has two runways and two terminals; Terminal 2 was recently renovated in time for the 2014 World Cup.

Galeao

Galeão is a main hub to TAM Airlines and Gol Transportes Aereos. It is also served by major carriers such as:

Aerolineas Argentinas
Aeromexico
Air Canada
Air France
Alitalia
American Airlines
British Airways
Copa Airlines
Delta
Emirates
Iberia
KLM
LAN Airlines
Lufthansa
TAAG Angola
TAP Portugal
United

Galeao is also a busy cargo hub, with numerous domestic and international carriers flying in each day.

Galeao Airport Map

The main spotting location at Galeao Airport is the observation deck in the Air Cafe within Terminal 1. It is located on a higher floor and has good views over the parking areas and runway beyond, so you should see all aircraft movements from here.

An alternative observation area can be found in Terminal 2′s international concourse 1. This has similar views over the parking gates and aprons, and photography is possible.

Between terminals 1 and 2 is a link corridor which also has views across the apron. You don’t need to be a passenger to view here, and photography is possible.

If you’re looking for spotting hotels at Galeao Airport, the Luxor Aeroporto is located within the terminal complex. However, it does not have any rooms overlooking the apron. It is, however, an an easy walk to the various spotting locations.

 

Spotting at Santos Dumont Airport

Santos Dumont is Brazil’s 6th busiest airport. It has two short parallel runways, a single terminal, and an area for business aircraft. The airport operates between 6am and 11pm.

Rio's Santos Dumont Airport

Rio’s Santos Dumont Airport

Its downtown location makes it a busy business hub for executive aircraft, and also for domestic flights by airlines such as:

Avianca Brazil
Azul
Gol Transportes Aereos
TAM Airlines

SantosDumontMap

There is also a military presence at the airport, so be careful when pointing binoculars and cameras around the perimeter.

The best spotting location is within the terminal itself, where there is a large window overlooking the aircraft apron and runways in the distance. Despite there once being an observation deck, it is now obstructed by gates.

An alternative location outside the terminal is close to the southern end of the runways, on Avenida Almirante Silvio Noronha. Turn left outside the terminal and walk past the college. It takes about 20 minutes to get here, and photography is best in the afternoon.

The Ibis Santos Dumont Airport is the only spotting hotel at Santos Dumont. Some rooms, ending in 51, 53 or 55 according to Plane Spotting Hotels, have limited views over the executive ramp. It is only a short walk to the terminal, however. Hotel website.

Transfers between Galeao and Santos Dumont airports is by a shuttle bus that takes around half an hour.

Theme Week: Preserved Airliners in Brazil

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Brazil, Miscellaneous Spotting, South America | Posted on 19-06-2014

0

 BrazilThemeWeek

This post is part of a series on Brazil looking at aviation in the country to coincide with the 2014 football World Cup held there. The previous posts looked at the special World Cup liveries worn by various airlines in the lead up to the tournament, a general overview of airlines and airports in Brazil, and Spotting at Sao Paulo’s airports. In this post we’ll look at preserved airliners in Brazil.

Back in the day, if you thought of Brazil’s airlines you thought of VARIG, VASP and Cruziero. These carriers dated back a long way, but sadly none of them weathered the financial troubles that would come their way.

But visitors to Brazil can still see a number of preserved aircraft which once belonged to these and other pioneering airlines from the country.

Aviation Museums in Brazil
The main aviation museums in Brazil which have airliners on display include:

Museu Aeroespaciale in Rio de Janeiro – Campo Dos Afonsos
Includes lots of Brazilian Air Force airliner/transports, such as Boeing 737-200, 737-300, four Douglas C-47 variants, de Havilland Dragon Rapide, Lockheed Lodestar, Vickers Viscount 700, Embraer Banderiante, plus a VARIG Lockheed L188 Electra.

TAM Museum Constellation

TAM Museum in São Carlos
A growing collection of significant historical aircraft created by the founder of TAM Airlines. It has a number of airliners on display, including a Douglas DC-3, Embraer Bandeirante, Fokker F-27, F-100, and Panair do Brasil Lockheed Constellation in immaculate condition.

Other preserved airliners
In addition to the museums, a number of other airliners are preserved around Brazil, including:

Araquara
A private owner bought and preserved a rusting VASP Boeing 737-200 on his land, and is now turning it into a cafe and children’s play area. The aircraft if PP-SFI.

Rio de Janeiro Galeao Air Base
Has a Brazilian Air Force BAe 748 preserved outside.

Sao Jose dos Campos Brazilian Aerospace Memorial
A couple of Embraer prototypes are on display amongst the military aircraft.

Sao Paulo Parque dom Pedro
A classic Douglas DC-3, PT-KUB, is on display in this downtown Sao Paulo park.

Tijucas
By the side of the road in this rural area is a NAMC YS-11 converted into a restaurant. Formerly PP-CTI.

PP-CTI NAMC YS-11 (c) Daniel R Popinga

PP-CTI NAMC YS-11. Courtesy of Flickr

Theme Week: Spotting at Sao Paulo’s Airports

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Brazil, South America, Spotting Hotels | Posted on 18-06-2014

0

BrazilThemeWeek

This post is part of a series on Brazil looking at aviation in the country to coincide with the 2014 football World Cup held there. The previous posts looked at the special World Cup liveries worn by various airlines in the lead up to the tournament, and a general overview of airlines and airports in Brazil. In this post we’ll look at the spotting opportunities at Sao Paulo’s.

Sao Paulo has two airports – Gaurulhos, which is the main international airport, and Congonhas, which is a busy domestic airport. Here is a guide to the best places to spot at the two airports.

Sao Paulo

Spotting at Guarulhos Airport

Guarulhos is the largest airport in South America, and a busy international gateway to Brazil. It is located in the north of the city and has two parallel runways and four terminal sections.

Sao Paulo Guarulhos

The airport is a main hub to TAM Airlines and Gol Transportes Aereos. It is also served by major carriers such as:

Aerolineas Argentinas
Aeromexico
Air Canada
Air China
Air France
Alitalia
American Airlines
Avianca
British Airways
Cubana
Delta
Emirates
Ethiopian Airlnes
Etihad
Iberia
KLM
Qantas
Qatar Airways
Singapore Airlines
TAAG Angola
TAP Portugal
Turkish Airlines
United

GuarulhosMap

Inside the terminal there are two areas where you can see aircraft, at either ends of the building through large windows, but you will miss some movements.

The Hotel Matiz is great for spotting, as it has a terrace which is perfect for landing shots. However, sometimes this is closed, or requires to you pay for day access if you’re not a guest. It is best to e-mail the hotel a few days prior to your arrival to request access. It is situated at the westerly end of the runways.

Nearby the Matiz is an area of grass underneath the approach to runways 09L/R, which is a 30 minute walk from the terminal. You can’t park here, but it is safe to spot and photograph.

Hotel Matiz Guarulhos

Hotel Matiz Guarulhos

As for spotting hotels at Guarulhos, the Hotel Matiz mentioned above is the best option as it has great views of arrivals and a terrace. Aircraft can be read off from rooms facing the airport. Hotel website.

Access to Guarulhos is best by car, taxi or bus.  There is also a free bus transfer to Congonhas airport for Gol and TAM passengers.

 

Spotting at Congonhas Airport

Congonhas Airport Terminal

Situated 5 miles from downtown Sao Paulo, Congonhas sits atop a plateau surrounded by the urban sprawl. It is a tricky airport for pilots because of its short runways.

Congonhas has a single terminal, two runways, and is Brazil’s third busiest airport in terms of passengers, and second busiest in terms of aircraft movements. So there’s plenty to see!

It is now only a domestic airport, having lost its international flights. It is quite popular with executive aircraft. The principal airlines are:

Avianca Brazil
Azul
Brava Linhas Aereas
Gol
TAM Airlines

Congonhas Map

Avenue Washington Luiz is a good spotting location at Congonhas as it has a walkway alongside which parallels the runway. You can walk here from the terminal if you turn right. However, it can be unsafe to be here alone or for long.

Another good spot if runway 17R is in use is to continue along Avenue Washington Luiz to where it joins Avenue Bandeirantes. Aircraft will pass above you at close quarters.

800px-AeroportoCongonhas_ALS2

A good value spotting hotel at Congonhas Airport is the Ibis Hotel Congonhas. It is situated next to the terminal, and rooms on higher floors have a great view of all movements. Hotel website.

The airport is accessed by car, taxi or bus. Free shuttle buses link Guarulhos and Viracopos International for passengers.

 

Theme Week: Brazil’s Airlines and Airports Overview

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Brazil, Miscellaneous Spotting, South America | Posted on 17-06-2014

1

BrazilThemeWeek

 

This post is part of a series on Brazil looking at aviation in the country to coincide with the 2014 football World Cup held in the country. The previous post looked at the special World Cup liveries worn by various airlines in the lead up to the tournament. In this post we’ll look at the main airlines and airports in Brazil.

For many years if you thought of airlines in Brazil, you would instantly think of VARIG, VASP, Rio Sul or Cruzeiro. These airlines dominated air travel in the country and it seemed inconceivable that between 1993 and 2006 all four of them would disappear amidst bankruptcies and mergers (VARIG re-emerged briefly, only to disappear into Gol).

Airlines of Brazil Today

Today air travel in Brazil is dominated by three major carriers, Azul, Gol and TAM Airlines, alongside a number of smaller regional and franchise carriers. We’ll take a look in more detail at some of these below:

Azul

Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras
Founded in 2008, Azul is based at São Paulo Campinas and Belo Horizonte-Confins airports.
Fleet: ATR 42 and 72, Embraer 175, 190 and 195. Airbus A330s and A350s on order.
Azul flies principally on domestic routes across Brazil from its main bases and focus cities. It occasionally flies international charters, and is planning to commence international scheduled service to the US in the future.

Gol B737-800 Curitiba

Gol Transportes Aéreos
Founded in 2001 with bases in Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Fleet: Gol has over 140 Boeing 737-700 and -800 aircraft, with 737MAX 8′s on order.
Gol flies an extensive domestic network within Brazil. It also offers international flights to countries across South America, the Caribbean, and United States.

TAM 777

TAM Airlines
Founded in 1976, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that TAM emerged as a major player in Brazilian aviation. Today it is the country’s largest airline, with bases at São Paulo-Guarulhos, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão, and Brasília International airports.
Fleet: TAM operates over 170 aircraft, including Airbus A319, A320, A321, A330-200, Boeing 767-300ER, and Boeing 777-300ER. It has 30 Airbus A350s on order.

TRIP E175

Other notable airlines of Brazil include:

ABSA Cargo, which operates Boeing 767-300 freighters from Campinas.
Avianca Brazil, an offshoot of the Colombian carrier, with over 40 aircraft operating from Sao Paulo Garulhos.
Passaredo Linhas Aereas, operating ATR 72-600s on domestic services from Dr. Leite Lopes Airport, Ribeirão Preto.
TRIP Linhas Aereas, which has a fleet of ATR 42/72 and Embraer 175/190 flying domestic and regional routes from Belo Horizonte.

 

Sao Paulo Guarulhos

Airports in Brazil

There are over 200 airports in Brazil, and most of the major urban areas have one. Not all have regular air service, with some restricted to general aviation and military flying.

The busiest airport in Brazil is São Paulo-Guarulhos International, which was the 33rd busiest in the world in 2013, and looks to have risen in the rankings in 2014. It handled 36,460,923 passengers last year.

The city’s Congonhas Airport is the country’s second busiest, closely followed by Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão International Airport.

Here’s a list of the top 20 busiest airports in Brazil in 2013, in terms of passengers handled:

Rank Airport City Passengers
1 Guarulhos International Airport São Paulo 36,460,923
2 Congonhas Airport São Paulo 17,119,530
3 Galeão International Airport Rio de Janeiro 17,115,368
4 Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport Brasília 16,489,996
5 Tancredo Neves International Airport Belo Horizonte 10,301,288
6 Viracopos International Airport Campinas 9,294,446
7 Santos Dumont Airport Rio de Janeiro 9,204,603
8 Salvador International Airport Salvador 8,589,663
9 Salgado Filho International Airport Porto Alegre 7,993,164
10 Guararapes-Gilberto Freyre International Airport Recife 6,840,276
11 Afonso Pena International Airport Curitiba 6,742,133
12 Pinto Martins International Airport Fortaleza 5,959,629
13 Hercílio Luz International Airport Florianópolis 3,872,877
14 Val de Cães International Airport Belém 3,475,611
15 Eurico de Aguiar Salles Airport Vitória 3,450,736
16 Eduardo Gomes International Airport Manaus 3,077,077
17 Santa Genoveva Airport Goiânia 3,000,592
18 Marechal Rondon Airport Cuiabá 2,981,025
19 Augusto Severo International Airport Natal 2,408,206
20 Zumbi dos Palmares International Airport Maceió 1,943,437

 

Campo de Marte Airport

Campo de Marte Airport

When looking at the number of aircraft movements (of more interest to the enthusiast than passengers, after all!), the top two remain the same. However, the third busiest is Brasilia, and fifth is São Paulo’s Campo de Marte airport which has no airline traffic at all, but is a busy general aviation and military facility.

Another airport featuring high in the ranks of movements is Jundiaí Airport which, again, is only a general aviation facility with no airline movements, but still very busy.

Where to Spot Aircraft in Brazil

Naturally the most popular airports for spotting in Brazil are the big ones with the most airliner movements. These are São Paulo’s Congonhas and Guarulhos airports, Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão and Santos Dumont airports, and Brasilia Airport. All of these airports have observation areas and a good mix of traffic.

Rio's Santos Dumont Airport

Rio’s Santos Dumont Airport

For those wanting to see the production of Embraer aircraft, the best airfield for this is Unidade Gavião Peixoto Airport to the north west of Sao Paulo. Other airfields where Embraer carries out production are São José dos Campos and Botucatu.

Theme Week: Aviation in Brazil

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Brazil, Miscellaneous Spotting, South America | Posted on 15-06-2014

0

BrazilThemeWeek

Brazil is a huge country, and it has been investing in its aviation network over recent years.

Brazil has mentioned plans to build as many as 800 airports to cope with the vast distances involved in reaching some parts of the country. With a population of 198 million and many airports bursting at the seams, this isn’t such a crazy idea.

Whilst the days of the big Brazilian airlines VARIG and VASP are long gone, new airlines such as TAM and Gol are thriving, and many international airlines focus a lot of attention on the country.

Chris the Redeemer in Rio de JaneiroFor enthusiasts, most of the big airports have observation decks which can be used to log and photograph airliners, and it is generally accepted that people enjoy doing this.

There are also a number of good spotting hotels to help with the hobby.

So over the coming week we’ll post a number of articles on topics such as:

Special World Cup airline schemes
Brazil’s Airlines and Airports Overview
Spotting at Sao Paulo’s airports
Preserved Airliners in Brazil
Spotting at Rio de Janeiro

TAAG Angola aims to develop Luanda into large hub

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Airport News, Belgium, Brazil, China, Dubai, France, Heathrow, Italy, Middle East, Portugal, South America, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-04-2014

0

TAAG_777-3M2ERTAAG Angola Airlines is planning to turn its Luanda Airport base into a hub to link Central Africa with worldwide destinations in association with Emirates Airline.

TAAG is currently on the EU banned airline list, but it is hoped it will emerge soon and begin expanding its connections to Europe, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, London Heathrow, Paris CDG, and Rome Fiumicino.

Luanda will also be linked through Dubai via Emirates, who will also take on TAAG’s links to Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo.

A new airport is being built at Luanda which will be able to handle this increased traffic, and match modern standards expected at airports.

Etihad Cargo round-the-world with 747-8

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airline News, Airport News, Asia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Middle East, Netherlands, North America, South America, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 30-05-2013

0

Etihad Cargo 747-8Etihad Cargo is to commence a round-the-world route taking in new destinations, and using a Boeing 747-8 freighter.

The aircraft will be leased from Atlas Air under an Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI) agreement, and it will be painted in the colours of Etihad Cargo.

The round-the-world route will originate in Abu Dhabi and see stops in Hong Kong, Chicago, Miami, Viracopos (Brazil), Quito, and Amsterdam, before returning to its point of origin.

Kevin Knight, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Etihad Airways, said, “Etihad Cargo is reinforcing its position as a global operator with the entry into service of this round-the-world routing, touching the Middle East, Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe.

The Boeing 747-8 Freighter is the largest in Etihad Cargo’s current freighter fleet.  The airline also operates three Boeing B777F, one Boeing 747-400ERF, one Boeing 747-400F and two Airbus A330-200F.

Skywest orders up to 200 Embraer jets

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Brazil, North America, South America, USA | Posted on 22-05-2013

0

Skywest Embraer 175Skywest Airlines has signed a deal with Embraer to order 40 E-175 jets. These will be operated on behalf of United Airlines.

The deal also includes another 60 firm orders which are reconfirmable, and subject to Skywest being awarded Capacity Purchase Agreements (CPA) to operate them on behalf of other US airlines.

Skywest has also taken options on another 100 E-175s, taking the total potential order to 200.

If all 100 firm orders are exercised, the order has an estimated value of USD 4.1 billion at current list prices, representing one of the most significant orders in each company’s histories. SkyWest plans to configure the E175s in a dual-class 76-seat layout, with the delivery of the first aircraft scheduled for the second quarter of 2014.

“This is truly a milestone order for Embraer. As our largest Brasilia and ERJ operator, SkyWest has now selected the enhanced E-Jet for their fleet, validating their confidence in Embraer and recognizing the tremendous capabilities of the E175 as the best aircraft in its class,” said Paulo Cesar Silva, President & CEO, Embraer Commercial Aviation. “I’m confident the technologically advanced E175 will become the company’s flagship, bringing greater efficiency to their operations and a higher standard of comfort to their customers.”

Ethiopian Dreamliners to Brazil

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Brazil, Ethiopia, South America | Posted on 18-05-2013

0

Ethiopian 787 (c) Konstantin von WedelstaedtEthiopian Airlines will commence Boeing 787 Dreamliner service to Brazil from July.

The fairly complex service will route Addis Ababa – Lome – Rio de Janeiro – Sao Paulo

This will be the first Dreamliner service to Brazil, and operates 3x weekly from 1st July.

Best airports to see active Boeing 727s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, Middle East, North America, Saudi Arabia, South America, Thailand, USA | Posted on 15-02-2013

8

Fedex 727-233The Boeing 727 is becoming quite a rare aircraft to see in action these days. Thankfully there are still a number stored and preserved around the world.

Most of the active examples are flown in cargo configuration, with only a few examples still flying passengers (see my Last Chance to Fly ebook for a list of airlines still flying 727s and other rare airliners).

So where can you catch Boeing 727s in action? Here’s a list of some of the airports which have a number of 727s based or visiting regularly.

USA
Memphis, TN – The main super hub for FedEx Express, which is the world’s largest operator of Boeing 727 aircraft. All of its -100 models are gone, but around 40 -200s are still flying and can be seen overnight at Memphis.

Detroit Willow Run, MI – Primarily a cargo airport, Willow Run is home to Kalitta Charters and its fleet of 727-200s.

Florida – A number of 727s operate out of Opa Locka in Florida, including a private example, and also out of Orlando International and Miami International airports.

Colombia
Bogota – One of the world’s busiest airports for Boeing 727 flights. Local cargo operators AeroSucre and Lineas Aereas Suramericanas operate a mixed fleet of -100s and -200s from the airport every day.

Lineas Aereas Suramericanas 727s

Brazil
Airlines such as Rio Linhas Aereas and Total Linhas Aereas operate a number of Boeing 727-200 cargo aircraft from airports throughout the country, with bases in Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro.

 

Kuala Lumpur Subang
Formerly the main airport at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Subang is now a secondary airport used for cargo flights and aircraft receiving maintenance. It is also home to Transmile Air Services. Its fleet of Boeing 727-200 freighters can be seen every day, and photographed from a number of locations around the airport.

 

Tehran Mehrabad
The domestic airport in Iran is where you can catch the last passenger Boeing 727-200s on a daily basis, with both Iran Air and Iran Aseman Airlines operating the type for the time being. These operated to destinations such as Mashad, Kish Island, and Dubai.

Iran Aseman 727

Canada
One of the best places to catch Boeing 727s in action, the airlines Cargojet Airways, and Purolator operate throughout Canada. Their main bases, and thus the best places to catch their 727s, are Hamilton, ON, and Kelowna, BC respectively.

Mexico City
Mexico’s Police and Government both operate a number of Boeing 727-200s on official duties from the country’s main airport. Their flights are irregular, but not uncommon.

Saudi Arabia
Boeing 727-100s and -200s still operate in Saudi Arabia, with private and government examples, plus those operated for DHL out of Jeddah and Riyadh. Spotting is not easy in Saudi Arabia, however.

There are many more airports that both receive aircraft from the airlines listed above, and have their own based examples. Some that spring to mind at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Lasham and Southend in the UK, and Cochabamba in Bolivia, where passenger examples still flew until recently.

The chance to photograph a Boeing 727 is quite rare now, so why not post the pictures you’ve managed to take recently for us all to enjoy? And why not comment below if you’ve seen a 727 recently, telling us where you saw it.