ROUTES: Brazil's Viracopos sets date for terminal opening

Las Vegas
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Sao Paulo state's Campinas-Viracopos International airport will officially open its new terminal on 11 May 2014, less than two years after it was privatised.

The new terminal, with 28 jetbridge gates, will replace the existing terminal that has 22 remote gates, says Luiz Alberto Küster, chief executive of Aeroportos Brasil, the consortium that won the 30-year concession to operate Viracopos from June 2012.

The new terminal, costing $1 billion, will grow Viracopos' capacity to 14 million passengers a year from nine million. Further ahead, the airport could grow its single 3,300m (10,800ft) runway to a four runway system, as required by passenger traffic growth.

Under the concession contract, the airport operator will begin building a second runway once the airport hits 176,000 aircraft movements a year. Viracopos sees 120,000 aircraft movements currently, says Küster. Going by the rate of growth, he expects a second runway to be needed by 2016 so the airport operator plans to start building a second runway in 2014.

Once the airport hits 300,000 aircraft movements a year, the construction of a third and fourth runway will kick in, adds Küster. The additional runways are made possible by the abundance of land around the airporT.

While most of the airport's current traffic is domestic, Küster expects international and regional traffic to grow substantially as the airport develops. Viracopos has status as a major import cargo airport, and it is well-connected to other Brazilian cities, he points out. "With the new terminal, we will have more international destinations," he adds.