BizAv Planning: 2016 Brazil Summer Games – Airport Slots & Closures
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2016 Brazil Summer Games and Paralympics will be held at various city venues in Brazil between August 5 and September 18. While the primary Summer Games events take place in Rio de Janeiro, football matches will be held at Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Manaus. This will be a busy time for business aviation traffic, and Brazil can be a challenging operating environment.
If planning on flying into Brazil during this period, the following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Primary airports
Primary airports of entry (AOE) for international arrivals are listed in the chart below. All of these airports are expected to experience heavy traffic during the Summer Games period. However, Rio de Janeiro (SBGL) will experience the greatest congestion in terms of general aviation (GA) and scheduled commercial movements.
The chart below indicates the destinations where games will take place and applicable airport options for each destination:
|Rio de Janeiro
|SBSP, SBKP, SDCO
Note: All the airports above are AOEs with the exceptions of SBRJ, SBSP, SDCO and SBBH which are domestic only airports and SBCB which is an AOE upon request.
For arrival into domestic airports in Brazil you’ll first need to land at an AOE to clear customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ), validate your domestic operating permit, and proceed to the domestic airfield. You’ll also need to stop at an AOE prior to departing Brazil for departure CIQ.
3. Airport slots
Eight airports in Brazil are currently confirmed to be slot coordinated during the 2016 Brazil Summer Games period:
- Brasilia (SBBR)
- Sao Paulo Congonhas (SBSP)
- Belo Horizonte (SBCF)
- Rio de Janeiro (SBGL)
- Sao Paulo Guarulhos (SBGR)
- Belo Horizonte (SBBH)
- Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont (SBRJ)
- Campinas (SBKP)
Airport slots will be required August 1 through September 20 for all airports with the exception of SBBR. SBBR slot requirements will be in effect August 3-14. Slot deviation is currently +15/-15 minutes, and this is not expected to change. At this time The Agencia Nacional de Aviacao Civil (ANAC) hasn’t confirmed whether inbound and outbound, or just inbound, slots will be required. Be mindful that a slot only gives you permission to arrive at the airport and stay on the ground for a few hours–just two hours in the case of SBGL. The maximum permitted time on the ground for other locations isn’t known at this time. You’ll then need to reposition to a different airport if overnight parking approval has not been confirmed. Note that overnight GA parking will be very limited at SBGL and may require operators to drop off/pick up and reposition.
4. Obtaining slots
Specific procedures for obtaining slots during the 2016 Brazil Summer Games have not yet been issued; however, it’s expected that the process will be online and similar to what was in place for last year’s World Cup. ANAC has not yet confirmed when slots will be made available, but the consensus is that this will likely happen in January 2016. Approximately 20% of all airport slots will be reserved for heads of state, designated VIPs, private non-revenue flights, and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators with less than 30 passenger seats. If your aircraft has more than 30 passenger seats you’ll be treated as a scheduled commercial flight and will need to obtain a scheduled commercial permit in order to access designated commercial slots. However, be aware that accreditation for scheduled commercial permits can be a long and involved process.
5. Penalties for not adhering to slots
Monetary penalties are generally applicable to operators in Brazil that do not comply with approved slot times. At this time it’s not known how such penalties will be applied to GA operations during the 2016 Summer Games period. We expect ANAC to provide more clarification on this closer to the Games.
6. Airport closures
The only published airport closures are for SBBH and these closures will be in effect during scheduled football matches. It’s anticipated that closures will start a few hours before each game and extend an hour or two after the game has ended. The reason for these closures is that SBBH is close to the event venue and there are airport noise and security concerns to consider. Authorities are also studying possible closure periods for SBGL and SBRJ as these airfields are in close proximity to where all competitions, other than football, will take place.
7. Costs of operating to Brazil
Brazil, in general, is a relatively high cost environment for GA operations. While various suppliers are still awaiting airport approvals to set service prices it’s anticipated that many airports will impose higher than normal parking fees. Crew accommodation availability, and room costs, will also be a consideration during this period. As hotels in most Summer Games host cities are currently unrestricted and not blocked in terms of reservation availability, it’s best to confirm crew accommodations as soon as schedule is known.
8. Additional airport considerations
We anticipate that there will be exclusion zones in place similar to the ones in the World Cup — denoted as Red, Yellow, and White — over specific airports and surrounding airspace at certain times. These will not likely be announced until January 2016. We also expect NOTAMs to be issued detailing any restrictions and preferred routings as well as maximum times permitted on the ground for aircraft without overnight parking approval. While it’s unlikely that any airports will completely block GA parking, availability will be extremely limited and repositioning may be necessary. Consider that some of these airports have restricted parking spots for GA, such as SBKP which only has three of them. On a positive note, it’s likely that SBRJ may extend current 0600-2300 local operating hours to 24-hour operations to help accommodate Summer Games traffic. Still, there’ll likely be certain operating curfews in effect at SBRJ during match times.
9. Visa exemptions
The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies has approved a law to exempt foreigners from visa requirements during the Games period. While starting date of this policy has not yet been defined, foreigners are likely to be admitted visa-free — for a period of up to 90 days with no extensions — up through October 18, 2016. Assuming this law is approved by the Senate, we anticipate exemption of all nationalities from visa requirements. Currently, pilots listed on gen decs do not need visas for Brazil, but flight attendants do unless they have a government issued license much like pilots have pilot licenses. With passage of this proposed law flight attendants, as well as passengers, would be able to enter Brazil visa-free for the 2016 Brazil Summer Games.
11/18/2015: Updated by the author.
The greatest challenge for GA operations to Brazil during the Summer Games period will be parking approvals at primary airports. Aircraft parking will be much more of an issue than obtaining airport slots. The best advice we can give is to plan ahead, attempt to confirm parking and hotel accommodations at primary airports as early as possible, and have contingency plans ready in the event it becomes necessary to reposition your aircraft.
If you have any questions about this article or if you’d like assistance planning your next trip to Brazil, contact me at email@example.com.