Sao Paulo Guarulhos plans phased opening of terminal 3

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When Concessionaria Aeroporto Internacional de Guarulhos opens the new terminal 3 at Sao Paulo’s international airport on 11 May, only three of the facility’s 25 airlines will be in residence.

“In order to ensure the success of this transition stage, without impacting the operation of the airport, the transfer of the airlines to terminal 3 will occur in phases,” says the private operator. “This staggered approach was developed by consultants based on experience of other international airports.”

All 25 airlines will relocate to the new terminal by September, says Concessionaria Guarulhos. However, this means that the terminal is likely to be operating below full capacity during the 2014 FIFA World Cup – the driving reason for opening the terminal by May – that runs from 12 June to 13 July.

The operator declines to comment on what airlines will move when, adding that discussions are still on-going with some carriers.

Lufthansa and Swiss will move in to terminal 3 in May, they confirm.

“We feel honoured and look forward to being amongst the first airlines to operate from the new terminal,” say the Star Alliance carriers in a joint statement.

Fellow Star member United Airlines says that it anticipates moving into 3 at the end of May.

American Airlines will move into terminal 3 in September, it says. The Fort Worth, Texas-based Oneworld alliance carrier needs to complete construction of a new Admirals Club before it relocates from its existing location in terminal 2 at Guarulhos, it says.

LATAM Airlines Group says that its subsidiary TAM Airlines, which is the second largest carrier in terms of number of flights at Guarulhos, has not confirmed when it will move to terminal 3.

Gol, the largest carrier at Guarulhos by number of flights, and its codeshare partner Delta Air Lines plan to remain in terminal 2.

Terminal 3 at Guarulhos will serve both domestic and international flights with 22 contact gates for the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 sized aircraft and nine remote aircraft parking positions, according to a presentation by TAM that was shared with Airline Business in November 2013.

The number of contact gates in the facility decreases to 11 with larger Airbus A330 and A350, and Boeing 777 and 787 sized aircraft.

The terminal will increase annual passenger capacity at the airport by 12 million to 42 million.

Guarulhos handled 29.3 million passengers during the 10 months ending 31 October 2013, according to the concessionaire. This is a 7.7% increase over the same period in 2012.