Viracopos International Airport is one of the busiest airports in Brazil. It is located about 22km away from the city of Campinas, a major trade and technology hub for the country. The airport was established in the 1930s but formally got its operational permit in October 1960, with renovations to accommodate intercontinental flights.
The airport serves more than seven million passengers, recording nearly 100,000 aircraft movements annually. It handles 250,000mt of cargo.
Since 1978 the airport has been under the administration of Infraero. In February 2012, the Brazil Airports Consortium, consisting of TPI Triunfo Participacoes e Investimentos SA, UTC Holdings SA and France’s EGIS Airport Operation, was awarded a 30-year concession for operating and maintaining the airport. The consortium won the bid for $3.8bn.
In the 1970s the Viracopos International Airport served as the main airport for São Paulo as the runway of São Paulo airport was too short to operate intercontinental planes.
Airport expansion plans in time for the FIFA World Cup
In December 2011, Laghi Engenharia was appointed by Infraero to carry out preliminary analysis and formulate basic designs for the expansion of the passenger terminal from 190,051m² to 568,596m². The expansion is planned to be completed by the end of 2013, to meet the anticipated growth in passenger traffic during the FIFA World Cup 2014 to be held in Brazil.
The Brazil Airport Consortium will spend a minimum of $5.06bn in the 30 years concession period towards the airport’s improvements. There is also a minimum amount specified that must be invested before the FIFA World Cup 2014. A new terminal, a runway and a parking lot are planned to be constructed at the airport.
The logistics complex at the airport will also be expanded from 77,400m² to 177,000m² in two phases. The first phase will involve construction of a live cargo terminal and a restricted cargo terminal. The second phase will expand the national and international cargo areas and involve the building of a new 10,000m² courier cargo terminal.
Campinas economic growth key to Viracopos renovations
Recognising the growth in the economy of Campinas and cargo trade at the airport, Infraero framed a master plan in 1995 to renovate the terminal building and improve cargo facilities.
Phase one of the project was completed in 2004, adding a new passenger arrival and departure lounge, a new cargo terminal and commercial concessions.
Phase two of the project, which was completed in 2005, involved the installation of a new air traffic control tower, expansion of the cargo storage and processing facilities, plus renovation of the passenger terminal.
As part of phase three of the master plan, a second runway is planned. The runway project has been, however, put on hold due to environmental issues. Final decision on the project will be taken based on the Environmental Impact Assessment Report.
Cargo terminal and parking at the major Brazilian airport
The Viracopos International Airport is the second busiest cargo airport in Brazil and the largest in Latin America. It is a cargo hub for more than 180 countries. It has a 646,000ft² cargo terminal, 52,200ft² of animal cargo space and 52,200ft² of refrigerated space.
Being a major economic hub, the city of Campinas invites massive cargo by large cargo aircraft and keeps the airport busy throughout the year. The airport currently has a parking lot with a capacity for 1,200 vehicles.
Ground Transportation and future for Viracopos International Airport
The airport is located adjacent to Bandeirantes-Anhanguera highway which connects the capital city to the interiors of São Paulo. The Brazil Airport Consortium announced plans to build a railway link that would connect the airport to the capital city.
The airport recorded a 50% growth in passenger traffic in 2011 when compared to 2010. The passenger and cargo traffic in the next three years is expected to exceed the airport’s capacity, hinting at the possibility of congestion by the time of the 2014 World Cup. In order to cope with this, the Brazil Airports Consortium aims to complete all the planned work by April 2014.