UPDATE: How the new GAT at SBGR in Sao Paulo impacts business aviation

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UPDATE: Nov. 23, 2019: Effective Nov. 15, 2019 through Feb. 28, 2020, São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (SBGR) will be running a trial for the general aviation terminal. This article has been updated to reflect the changes associated with the trial procedures.

A new general aviation terminal recently opened at São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (SBGR). This terminal is owned and operated by GAT GRU, a consortium that was awarded by the SBGR airport authorities.

Since the opening, there has been confusion among operators on whether or not they are required to use the GAT, if they still need a ground handler, and how pricing of the GAT is charged.

Universal Aviation Brazil is working closely with SBGR officials and GAT GRU management in order to enhance the transparency of the process. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know.

 1. New GAT opened Oct. 21, 2019

The new GAT opened Oct. 21, 2019 for GA operations at SBGR. Initially, all GA operations were required to operate through the GAT. The airport announced that effective Nov. 25, 2019 through Feb. 28, 2020 that a new trial would go into effect, making useage of the GAT optional for private operations.

Although the GAT adds convenience to the traveler, there are concerns that need to be considered when traveling to this location.

The GAT is restricted to one operation at a time. Although they do not conflict very often, be aware that crew and passengers will need to wait in the aircraft until it gets to their turn.

2. Handlers still required

All GA operations to SBGR still require a handling agent. Crew and pax are only allowed inside the aircraft ground perimeter. Universal Aviation Brazil is still the liaison providing all pre arrival coordination in order to guarantee the best ground experience as well as transport passengers and crew from the aircraft to the GAT. Additionally, Universal Aviation Brazil will also ensure operators understand upfront all fees associated with using the various amenities within the GAT.

3. Be prepared for more thorough inspections

The authorities will be completely dedicated to the crew and passengers arriving and departing. For this reason, inspections will be more complete than they were when the operation was in the commercial aviation terminal.

The preparation for a trip will also be more detailed. While in the past just a Gendec would work, now the handler will need to send the crew and pax manifest to the customs authorities within 24 hours along with any updates.

4. What if I have schedule changes?

For domestic flights, there shouldn’t be a problem, but for international arrivals or departures, make sure to advise your handler of any schedule changes with more than four hours of advance so there can be time enough to inform the CIQ authorities.

Changes informed within four hours are subject to the officer availability.

5. What if I have pets onboard?

There is only one quarantine agent on the whole airport per shift, so you may expect long waits until the agent is able to get to the aircraft.

6. CIQ process

Customs has committed to having staff available to clear GA aircraft at all times. However, Customs and Immigration officers are not stationed at the new GAT and will not come automatically. Operators will need to advise the airport whether they plan on using the GAT or going through Terminal 2 at least four hours and recommended 24 hours before arrival. All crew and passengers will have to disembark at the same time. Meanwhile, one of the crew members can stay behind in order to keep the APU running; however, the authorities will wait a maximum of 15 minutes for remaining crew to disembark and clear immigration as well.

After all crew members are cleared, they can return to the aircraft, bearing only the essentials to keep working on their aircraft. All baggage will be stored at GAT GRU facilities until they are ready to exit the airport.

Customs agents work both commercial and GA terminals, so their availability has not yet been tested.  Further, if multiple aircraft arrive to the GAT close to the same time, only one aircraft will be cleared at a time in order of arrival, and the passengers of the subsequent aircraft will have to await clearing onboard.

7. Is it mandatory to use the GAT and pay the VIP fee?

Operators in coordination with their handler can opt to use the GAT paying the VIP fee ($1700 USD) or take the free process available. If an operator decides NOT to use the GAT, they can use Terminal 2, which is a 15-minute ride from the apron. There are no additional fees associated with using Terminal 2.

Note: Operators arriving from any location in Brazil and choosing to perform the arrival through Terminal 2 will need to go through security screening in the GAT facility before they can depart in their handlers’ van to proceed to Terminal 2.

Conclusion:

Both frequent and non-frequent flyers will enjoy the benefits of the new terminal. A new trial at SBGR, allows operators to use Terminal 2. Any use of the GAT will result in a $1700 USD charge.  To decide the best option for your mission, it’s important to understand the layout of the GAT and work closely with your ground handler. Universal Aviation Brazil is working closely with the airport and the GAT operator to increase transparency on pricing and processes and will continue to update this article as more information becomes available.


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