Preparing for the 2016 Brazil Summer Games – Part 1: Airports and Services

PT 3 M minute read

This is a post by authors Marcia Taue and Adonis Bastos. Marcia and Adonis are based at Universal Aviation Brazil, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Manaus, Sorocaba, and Rio de Janeiro. Marcia and Adonis are experts on business aircraft operations in Brazil and can be contacted at or

This business aviation blog post is the first of a two-part series on operations to the 2016 Brazil Summer Games.

Athletes from around the world will meet in Brazil next year for the 2016 Brazil Summer Games. Rio de Janeiro will host the event August 3-21. This will be followed by the Paralympic Games, held in Rio de Janeiro September 7-19. We expect General Aviation (GA) movements to Brazil to be particularly high during the Summer Games period.

One very important point we want to make: If you plan on operating to Brazil during this event period, start no later than six months in advance!

The following is an overview of what you need to know if you are planning to operate to Brazil during this timeframe:

1. Event highlights

The majority of the games will take place in the Rio de Janeiro area. Soccer games, however, will also be held in Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Manaus, Salvador, and Sao Paulo.

2. Rio de Janeiro airport options

The three primary airports in Rio de Janeiro for GA operators to consider are Galeao (SBGL), Cabo Frio (SBCB), and Santos Dumont (SBRJ). There are other smaller airfields available in the vicinity, but they’ll only handle very small aircraft and helicopters. Both SBGL and SBCB are 24/7 Airports of Entry (AOEs). While they do not offer fixed-base operators or general aviation terminals, they do provide full ground handling with Ground Support Equipment (GSE). Be aware that SBRJ is a domestic-only airfield and does not provide Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) options.

3. Preferred airports for other event destinations

For Summer Games events outside of Rio de Janeiro, the preferred airfields are:

All of these are AOEs with the exception of SBBH, SDCO, and SBSP. Note that CIQ is not available at SBBH, SDCO, and SBSP, and they will not be re-designated as AOEs for the Summer Games period. All of the above offer full ground handling and GSE support, and credit is available with prior arrangement.

4. CIQ clearance

At all AOEs in Brazil, CIQ is cleared in the main commercial terminal. While GA passengers will need to line up for clearance with scheduled commercial passengers, crew have the option of using dedicated crew clearance lines at all of the AOEs. CIQ clearance for SBGR involves additional procedures that operators must be mindful of. For more information on this, see our articles on SBGR CIQ.

5. Aircraft parking issues

We anticipate that aircraft parking will be the number one issue for GA operators traveling to the Summer Games. Even Summer Games sponsors are unlikely to obtain special exemptions or parking allocations during this period.

6. Airspace restrictions

We expect to see assorted no-fly zones in place during the event. Depending on the time of day and/or type of flight (private non-revenue, non-scheduled commercial, etc.), some aircraft may be restricted from transiting certain airspace, as advised by notice to airmen.

7. Hotel and local transport considerations

Lack of available hotel accommodations during the Summer Games will be an issue primarily for the Rio de Janeiro area. Crew accommodations should be booked as soon as the schedule is known. For last-minute operations, you’ll likely be faced with repositioning your aircraft in order to source overnight crew accommodations.

8. Security tips

While airport security in Brazil is of good standard, some operators choose to arrange guards to watch over their aircraft. Only unarmed guards are permitted airside In Brazil. Aircraft guard options will depend on both availability and local airport regulations. For example you may only be permitted to use guards that are pre-approved and vetted by the particular airport authority. For off-airport personal security services, it’s best to work with your 3rd-party provider, well in advance of the day of operations, to review available options.


It’s likely that each airport in Brazil will institute different operating procedures and requirements for the upcoming 2016 Brazil Summer Games. This may impact arrival/departure slot requirements, airport closure times, and maximum time permitted on the ground. Due to potential parking issues during this period, it’s recommended that schedules, once confirmed, not be changed.

Brazil can be a complex operating environment, and our team at Universal Aviation Brazil – Rio de Janeiro is here to help.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers permits, slots, and parking restrictions for your travel to the 2016 Brazil Summer Games.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your trip to the Summer Games, contact Marcia at or Adonis at

Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. is not a sponsor or in any way affiliated with the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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