A lot has been invested in Brazilian airports in order to meet the demand of the country and for the international events that will be hosted in the Brazil. In this article you will find lists of the 10 largest Brazilian airports when it comes to passengers, flights and more.
Brazil has 721 airports, with 130 of them used for commercial purposes, and of these, 30 located in state capitals. Of these, 13 airports, the 12 largest in each host city plus Viracopos, in São Paulo, are considered strategic and will be mainly used for the major sporting events to come – the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.
Infrastructure is one of the worst problems when it comes to airports. Not only is their capacity questioned, but also the access to them. Different from other countries, Brazil doesn't have subways that go straight to the airport, making passengers dependent not only on vehicles, whether they are buses, vans, taxis or cars, but also the traffic.
The lack of infrastructure in most airports is an obstacle yet to be overcome. Passengers capacity is being increased in some airports, but most likely the increase won't be enough to supply the demand expected, especially for the World Cup.
The federal government has prepared a billion dollar investment package to solve the problems and deal with the criticisms. However, the projects will most likely not be finished by the time of the football event. The investments aren't being made only for the international events. Domestic demand is also increasing, most notably from the new growth in the Brazilian middle-class which now also have access to airplane travels due to the job creation and the income distribution. It is calculated that approximately 7 million Brazilians traveled by plane for the first time in 2011.
Thinking about the events and the difficulties, the solution appointed by FIFA's general secretary Jérôme Valcke in 2011 was that Brazil should use its air bases in order to reduce the demand of the airports that will be used in the competition. Some of the military basis are located in cities that will host matches, such as Brasília, Fortaleza, Manaus, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo, and could be used to receive the spectators and the foreign teams.
In September 2012, the Secretary of Civil Aviation, SAC, decided that the 12 host cities of the World Cup in 2014 would have 50 destination airports plus 42 alternative airports – some of which are military bases, as for the cases of Brasília, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
| Air Base Name || Location (City, State) |
| Afonsos Air Force Base – BAAF || Rio de Janeiro – Rio de Janeiro |
| Anápolis Air Force Base – BAAN || Anápolis, Goiás |
| Belém Air Force Base – BABE || Belém, Pará |
| Brasília Air Force Base – BABR || Brasília, Federal District |
| Boa Vista Air Force Base – BABV || Boa Vista, Roraima |
| Campo Grande Air Force Base – BACG || Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul |
| Canoas Air Force Base – BACO || Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul |
| Florianópolis Air Force Base – BAFL || Florianópolis, Santa Catarina |
| Fortaleza Air Force Base – BAFZ || Fortaleza, Ceará |
| Galeão Air Force Base – BAGL || Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro |
| Manaus Air Force Base – BAMN || Manaus, Amazonas |
| Natal Air Force Base – BANT || Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte |
| Porto Velho Air Force Base – BAPV || Porto Velho, Rondônia |
| Recife Air Force Base – BARF || Recife, Pernambuco |
| Salvador Air Force Base – BASV || Salvador, Bahia |
| Santa Cruz Air Force Base – BASC || Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro |
| Santa Maria Air Force Base – BASM || Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul |
| São Paulo Air Force Base – BASP || Guarulhos, São Paulo |
Brazilian airports had more than 100 million passengers pass through them in 2012, and for the World Cup it is expected that 600,000 foreigners will come to the country, besides over 3 million Brazilians who will be on the move.
Even thought the capacity of the airports has been increased by 13 million passengers due to recent PAC 2 works, the forecast is that not all the airports will be finished by June 2014, when the tournament starts. Part of the work is expected to be finished by March, 2014, and some others only in May.
The renovations at Porto Alegre's airport had a 2-year delay to start and the finish is forecasts for 2016.The way to solve the problem of increasing the airport capacity from 13.1 to 18.9 million passengers is to build temporary structures that will serve as passenger terminals but won't be not directly linked to the main airport terminal.
There are also cases of over-invoicing, like in Manaus, where more than BRL 2 million was not included in the first budget but was spent. Also, there are registers that show that Infraero paid for one type of equipment and received a different one, inferior to the one requested.
According to official information from Infraero, the 10 major Brazilian airports by passengers in 2012 were:
|Airport|| City, State || Passengers |
| Guarulhos International Airport || Guarulhos, São Paulo || 32.777.330 |
| Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport || Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro || 17.495.737 |
| Congonhas-São Paulo Airport || São Paulo, São Paulo || 16.775.770 |
| Brasília International Airport || Brasília, Distrito Federal || 15.891.530 |
| Tancredo Neves International Airport || Confins, Minas Gerais || 10.398.296 |
| Santos Dumont Airport ||Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro|| 9.002.863 |
| Viracopos International Airport || Campinas, São Paulo || 8.858.380 |
| Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport || Salvador, Bahia || 8.811.540 |
| Salgado Filho International Airport || Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul || 8.261.355 |
| Afonso Pena International Airport || Curitiba, Paraná || 6.828.334 |
The airports which are directly involved with the 12 host-cities of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 will receive an investment of BRL 5,6 billion, BRL 5,2 billion of which will be invested by Infraero. The projects to modernize the airports are planned to be finished by 2018, but in 2014 they will operate altogether with the military bases, which will receive the national teams.
The works encompass from runways to passenger terminals, including boarding rooms, new escalators and lifts, check-in counters, construction of new air-traffic control towers and more. Parking areas were also expanded in some airports. It is estimated that, until 2014, the airports capacity will have increased by 81%.
The ten major Brazilian airports in size are:
| Airport || City, State || Size |
| Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport || Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro || 180.000 m² |
| Guarulhos International Airport || Guarulhos, São Paulo || 175.500 m² |
| Brasília International Airport || Brasília, Distrito Federal || 80.000 m² |
| Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport || Salvador, Bahia || 69.750 m² |
| Tancredo Neves International Airport || Confins, Minas Gerais || 63.305 m² |
| Santos Dumont Airport || Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro || 61.090 m² |
| Congonhas-São Paulo Airport || São Paulo, São Paulo || 51.535 m² |
|Afonso Pena International Airport||Curitiba, Paraná||45.000 m²|
|Salgado Filho International Airport||Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul||37.600 m²|
|Viracopos International Airport||Campinas, São Paulo||25.215 m²|
In the first semester of 2012, the number of airplanes in Brazil increased 7% compared to the first semester of 2011. With the exception of the Northeast region, which had a reduction of 0,53%, all other regions had increases that surpassed 5%. The Southeast region obtained a 9,8% increase, followed by the north region (8,29%), the mid-west region (5,97%) and the south region (5,24%).
The ten major Brazilian airports by number of flights in 2012 were:
|Airport|| City, State || Flights |
| Guarulhos International Airport ||Guarulhos, São Paulo||273.884|
|Congonhas-São Paulo Airport||São Paulo, São Paulo||213.419|
|Brasília International Airport||Brasília, Distrito Federal||188.528|
|Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport||Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro||154.318|
|Campo de Marte Airport||São Paulo, São Paulo||143.799|
|Santos Dumont Airport||Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro||135.373|
|Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport||Salvador, Bahia||121.587|
|Tancredo Neves International Airport||Confins, Minas Gerais||120.149|
|Viracopos International Airport||Campinas, São Paulo||115.548|
|Salgado Filho International Airport||Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul||96.693|
Brazilian exports in 2012 maintained a high level despite the worldwide economic crisis, having similar numbers to 2011, when there was an increase of 27% compared to 2010 and also a record of USD 256 billion. Despite the drop of 5,3% in comparison to that year, Brazilian exports had the second highest value of the trade balance in history, reaching USD 242,6 billion.
China was the main destination of Brazilian exports in 2012 with USD 41,2 billion, followed by the United States (32,6 billion), Argentina (USD 18 billion), the Netherlands (USD 15 billion) and Japan (8 billion).
The 10 airports with the highest volume of exports in 2012 were:
|Airport|| City, State || Exports (ton) |
| Guarulhos International Airport ||Guarulhos, São Paulo||100.341|
|Viracopos International Airport||Campinas, São Paulo||75.330|
|Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport||Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro||32.954|
|Afonso Pena International Airport||Curitiba, Paraná||10.068|
|Salgado Filho International Airport||Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul||7.523|
|Tancredo Neves International Airport||Confins, Minas Gerais||5.034|
|Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport||Salvador, Bahia||4.607|
|Eduardo Gomes International Airport||Manaus, Amazonas||3.741|
|Petrolina international Airport||Petrolina, Pernambuco||3.124|
|Pinto Martins – Fortaleza International Airport||Fortaleza, Ceará||2.619|
Brazilian imports also maintained its high values in 2012: USD 223,1 billion, a 1,4% drop in comparison to the USD 226,2 billion in 2011. The main destination of Brazilian products was also China, with acquisitions worth USD 34,2 billion, followed by the United States (USD 32,6 billion), Argentina (USD 16,4 billion), Germany (USD 14,2 billion) and South Korea (USD 91, billion).
The 10 airports with the highest volume of imports in 2012 were:
|Airport|| City, State || Imports (ton) |
| Viracopos International Airport ||Campinas, São Paulo||140.983|
| Guarulhos International Airport ||Guarulhos, São Paulo||113.618|
|Eduardo Gomes International Airport||Manaus, Amazonas||53.411|
|Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport||Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro||46.428|
|Afonso Pena International Airport||Curitiba, Paraná||21.050|
|Tancredo Neves International Airport||Confins, Minas Gerais||14.656|
|Salgado Filho International Airport||Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul||9.456|
|Eurico de Aguiar Salles Airport||Vitória, Espírito Santo||5.539|
|Santa Genoveva Airport||Goiânia, Goiás||4.981|
|Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport||Salvador, Bahia||4.166|