Top Destinations for Brazil – Part 1: Airport Considerations

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Top Destinations for Brazil – Part 1: Airport Considerations

This is a post by author Adonis Bastos. Adonis is the Flight Coordinator at Universal Aviation Brazil, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Manaus, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro. Adonis is an expert on business aircraft operations in Brazil and can be contacted at adonisbastos@universalaviation.aero.

This is part one of a two-part series on some of the top destinations for Brazil.

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America, sharing borders with every South American country other than Chile and Ecuador. It’s also one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Always a top destination for business aviation, Brazil has a number of good airport options available to general aviation (GA).

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Top destinations

For GA operators heading to Brazil, some of the top business destinations include Sao Paulo Guarulhos (SBGR), Rio de Janeiro Galeao (SBGL), Campinas (SBKP), Brasilia (SBBR) and Sao Paulo Congonhas (SBSP). Top tourism destinations include Fernando de Noronha (SBFN), Porto Seguro (SBPS), Florianopolis (SBFL), Foz Do Iguacu (SBFI), Bonito (SJDB), and Preencher (SBJE). Top tech stop destinations include Recife (SBRF) and Manaus (SBEG).

2. Airports of entry and domestic airfields

Brazil offers many options in terms of airports of entry (AOE) including SBGR, SBGL, SBPS, SBFL, SBBR, SBRF and SBEG. SBSP is a popular domestic-only airport and operates 0600-2300 local without opportunity for overtime.

3. Ground handling and services

There are no general aviation terminals (GATs) in Brazil. Some fixed-base operators (FBOs) exist, such as the facility at SBSP, offering full support services and ground support equipment (GSE). Most airports in Brazil, including popular domestic locations, provide full handling, support services and credit with prior arrangement.

4. SBGL

This is a 24-hour AOE that handles heavy scheduled commercial traffic. The airport offers full handling and GSE options. Towbars are available but it’s always best to carry one onboard. When it’s busy at the airport, it will take quite some time to move a towbar from one section of the airport to another.

5. SBGR

This is a 24/7 airport with full services available. Airport slots aren’t required but prior permission required (PPR) is needed. As the airport doesn’t have a public parking area, operators looking to stay here overnight will need to reserve parking at the private apron.

6. SBBR

This is a 24-hour AOE with full services, an FBO and no PPR mandate. Also, this airport no longer requires airport slots. Though there is an FBO at the airport, CIQ is cleared at the main terminal.

7. SBFI

SBFI is a 24-hour AOE but customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) clearance is normally only available 0830-1830 local. CIQ overtime is possible outside these hours but must be requested at least 24 business hours prior to the estimated time of arrival for consideration. As SBFI is close to the border with Argentina and Paraguay, and the preferred airport for viewing Iguazu Falls, it’s important to consider visa requirements if planning to cross the border. Crew who arrive in Brazil without visas may face issues if they cross the border by land and return to Brazil without visas. Also, flight plans need to be filed between 0700 and 2100 local.

8. SBFL

This is a 24-hour AOE with full GA handling and support services. A PPR is necessary for parking at this location. Without a PPR you’ll be limited to three hours on the ground. With a PPR you may park as long as it has been approved. Note that it’s required that you carry a towbar when operating to this location.

9. SBKP

This location is also a 24-hour AOE with a FBO available to GA operations. Note that PPR is needed for this location and must be requested a minimum of 24 hours in advance. If PPR is not possible for your particular schedule, plan on being limited to a max three hours on the ground. A towbar is required to be onboard in order to receive parking permission and the airport offers few towbar models for renting options.

10. SBFN

This location is a domestic airport, operates sunrise to sunset only and has no ground handlers, fuel or GSE. Catering is not available other than very basic options from a local hotel. PPR, with lead time of five business days, is necessary to operate to SBFN and approval is at discretion of airport authorities. Note that there are also passenger fees involved to operate to this location. These fees apply only to passengers and range from 20-40 USD per passenger. Crew are exempted from these fees for stays of up to three days.

11. SBPS

This location operates 0900-1700 local but airport overtime may be requested. SBPS is an AOE only upon request and such requests must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to planned operation. Note that overtime charges are applicable and are considerably high for travel to this airport. For more information on overtime charges, please contact our 3rd-party provider or ground handler.

12. SJDB

SJDB is a domestic airport operating from sunrise to 2000 local and with no possibility of airport overtime. There’s no ground handler, fuel or GSE at this location and English is seldom spoken here. For operations to this location it’s recommended that a ground handler be repositioned in advance of your arrival.

13. SBRF and SBEG

SBRF and SBEG are 24-hour AOEs, but SBEG has GA black-out periods from 1300-1545, 2130-2330 and 0030-0230 UTC.

14. SBJE

This is currently a very popular location with many attractions for high profile passengers. The airport operates only during business hours. Overtime is possible, but needs to be requested at least 48 hours prior to your arrival. A tourist fee is required and it is charged per passenger and per day. You can choose to have the tourist fee paid in advance or take the passengers to pay it on cash upon arrival. Note that it isn’t an AOE, so good alternate airports to consider are SBRF and Fortaleza (SBFZ).

15. Towbar recommendations

When operating to any airport in Brazil it’s recommended that operators carry towbars. Towbars are, in fact, required at many locations in Brazil.

Conclusion

Be mindful that each airport may have their own restrictions regarding operations to the particular airport. You may encounter airport slot, PPR, black out and operating requirements. Additionally, your destination may not be an AOE, thus adding additional stops to your trip. It’s recommended that you communicate with your 3rd-party provider or ground handler on requirements when traveling to any destination in Brazil.

Later, we’ll discuss aircraft parking, customs, immigration, and services for travel to these top destinations in Brazil.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Brazil, contact me at adonisbastos@universalaviation.aero.

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