Tourists generally fly into one of two main international airports in Brazil. Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport is the largest gateway into the country, while Rio de Janeiro Galeao International Airport comes in a close second. These airports connect to all regions in Brazil and many other international cities across South America. TAM Airlines and Gol Transportes Aereos, the two most well known airlines in Brazil, operate from both of these.
Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport
By world standards, the main international airport serving Sao Paulo is only relatively new, opening operations in 1985. The airport shares the premises with the Sao Paulo Air Force and the Brazilian national air force. About 30 million passengers are accommodated by the facility each year. However, the terminals have experienced an average growth of two million passengers annually since 2004.
Both Gol Airlines and TAM Airlines use this facility as a base hub. Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport has routes to major domestic and intra-continental cities like Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Buenos Aeries and Santiago de Chile. Flights to New York, Miami and Toronto are among the busiest international routes.
There are two main terminals each divided into numerous wings with altogether over 260 check-in counters. The two areas are connected so passengers can travel between them on foot. Banks, ATMs, duty-free shopping, car rental, and restaurants are among the passenger services found in either terminal.
The Airport Bus Service is a popular travel option for getting into the city of Sao Paulo, which is only 15 miles (25kms) away. Traffic can be tremendously bad during rush hour, so always allow plenty of time when traveling to and from the airport. Passaro Marron bus system has two lines (257 and 299) from downtown Sao Paulo to the facility. They even connect to the Tatuape Subway Station, the closest train transport to the airport. Guarucoop is another airport-operated taxi network that is found outside the exits of both terminals. Can rental is another option, with plenty of internationally renowned companies operating at the arrivals halls.
Rio de Janeiro Galeao International Airport
With about 18 million passengers and over 140,000 aircraft movements a year, Rio de Janeiro’s airport is the second busiest in Brazil. Commonly called Galeao International Airport, this facility operates two terminals which are in the process of a big renovation and expansion for the Football World Cup 2014.
The airport connects to dozens of domestic destinations through TAM Airlines and Gol Airlines. In addition, flights to the United States (New York, Miami, Atlanta) and Argentina (Buenos Aeries) are the busiest international routes offered. Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 have three and two separate concourses respectively that all operate passenger flights. ATMs, internet connectivity, souvenir shops, duty-free stores, cafés, bars and restaurants are located inside the public area and restricted zone of both terminals.
Real Auto Onibus is a company offering bus connections to downtown Rio de Janeiro. Lines 2018, 2918, and 2145 have routes running from the airport to Rio’s central bus terminal every half an hour. Car rental is also available in the arrivals hall. However, taxi services, including companies like Green Path Transfers, are cheap, convenient and reliable, which means very few tourists need to rent a vehicle.