Rio de Janeiro’s RIOgaleão Tom Jobim International Airport has opened its revamped facilities including a new pier, high-quality facilities and improved services following a R$2bn (US$560m) investment.
The transformation of the host airport of the 2016 Olympic Games was carried out in record time: the new South Pier was constructed in less than two years and boasts an additional 1,076,400ft² and 26 new aerobridges, including three aerobridges that can accommodate the A380. All airport facilities have also been refreshed to offer passengers a more diverse range of services and an enhanced customer experience.
Luiz Rocha, president of airport operator RIOgaleão, commented, “The airport is a legacy we want to share with the cariocas [natives of the city of Rio de Janeiro]. It epitomizes the unique spirit of the people and we want it to be a place the cariocas can be proud of. Delivered in record time, the revamped airport is the result of a commitment we made in 2014 to the city and our passengers, and a concerted effort by the community. At the peak of the works, the consortium generated 7,000 jobs. We worked tirelessly to ensure that what we have today is a world-class airport that captures the carioca soul, and is ready to receive the 1.5 million visitors we are expecting to the Olympic Games.”
The airport will feature one of the most modern duty-free shopping areas by international travel retailer Dufry, with 86,000ft² of retail space including an exclusive section for carioca brands. There will also be more than 100 new stores and restaurants across 258,000ft² that will be progressively opened through August.
The airport has dedicated 64,500ft² of space to lounges that will be fully operational by the Olympics season and managed by the airlines and an internationally recognized partner.
A new Welcome Centre, located at the arrival area of Terminal 2 and manned by trilingual professionals, has also opened. The center was launched in partnership with Riotur (Rio de Janeiro City Tourism Board) and Setur (Rio de Janeiro State Tourism Board) and serves as a one-stop service center where travelers can get information on Rio de Janeiro, the airport and other integrated transport options.
Tom Jobim International Airport has integrated digital platforms into the new terminals, becoming the first in Latin America to offer a smartphone app catering specifically to passengers. The app will enable users to find their way around the airport, with suggested routes and timings to get to their destination. The app also enables users to monitor flights, estimate the time needed to get to the airport, pay for parking, and get in touch directly with the airport’s customer service online. The app will also provide information on airport shops, restaurants and public transportation to surrounding areas. Self-service kiosks that complement the app can be found throughout the airport and will provide travelers with general information.
From June, barcoded boarding pass technology will be introduced in the security clearance areas of the departures area, allowing passengers to gain entry using printed or digital boarding passes. Electronic eGates will also be implemented in June to automate the passport clearance process. The solution, developed by Vision-Box, is available to all Brazilians aged 18 years and above, arriving or departing on international flights. International visitors and Brazilians under 18 years will have to go through the usual clearance process by presenting their passports to an immigration officer.
A new operations control center with the latest airport management systems will also be fully functional next month. The center will be the main coordinator for all operational teams to drive even greater efficiency, safety and security in airport management. Tom Jobim will be the first airport in Latin America to oversee the airport apron, which was previously the responsibility of the traffic controller.
The launch of the rejuvenated Tom Jobim International Airport marks the completion of a major stage of RIOgaleão’s overall investment plan for the airport. The concessionaire has plans to invest an additional R$3.2bn (US$890m) in services and new infrastructure through 2039.