Sao Paulo Guarulhos terminal 3 not designed for connections: Star

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The new terminal 3 at Sao Paulo Guarulhos International airport is not designed for connections, says Star Alliance chief executive Mark Schwab.

“It’s basically an O&D [origin and destination] terminal building, is what it’s been designed to be,” he says at the Phoenix International Aviation Symposium today. “This is just unhelpful in the long-term in my opinion.”

The design and construction of the terminal moved forward with little concern for connections in the push to open the facility before the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Schwab says.

Terminal 3 is scheduled to open on 11 May and the World Cup begins on 12 June.

At least three Star carriers plan to use terminal 3, with Lufthansa, Swiss and United Airlines scheduled to move in in May.

Star makes a point to meet “quickly” with local officials at every new airport or terminal project around the world to discuss the importance of facilitating connections, says Schwab.

Terminal 3 will help reduce crowding at Guarulhos, despite its focus on local traffic. It will increase annual passenger capacity by 12 million to 42 million.

The airport handled nearly 36 million passengers – despite a design capacity of about 30 million – in 2013, according to operator Concessionaria Aeroporto Internacional de Guarulhos. This is a 9.9% increase compared to 2012.

Terminal 3 will serve both international and domestic flights with 22 contact gates for the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 sized aircraft or 11 for larger Airbus A330 and A350, and Boeing 777 and 787 sized aircraft.

The airport operator will move airlines into the facility in phases, with carriers moving from May to September. American Airlines, LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines also plan to operate from the facility.

Enrique Cueto, chief executive of LAN and TAM parent LATAM, told Airline Business in 2013 that they plan to build a large connecting hub at Sao Paulo with the opening of terminal 3.

"You have a huge amount of local traffic, and we will have the opportunity to connect to all the LAN affiliates in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and others,” he said on Sao Paulo Guarulhos.