Rio de Janeiro – Galeão International Airport (GIG / SBGL)
Airport is located on the Ilha do Governador (Governor Island) 12 km north from the city centre. Despite being only 4th Brazilian airport by the number of passengers (after Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos and Congonhas airports and Brasilia Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport) Galeão is one of the major Brazilian international gateway along with the Guarulhos Airport. All major domestic airlines and a selection of international air companies from the continent, as well as from Europe, US, and Africa can be seen here. Military aviation is represented by Brazilian Air Force transport aircrafts based on Galeão Air Force Base in the southern part of the airport. Galeão has two runways and two passenger terminals connected by the long link corridor. Due to island’s location and huge airport area spotting opportunities are rather limited, with the locations in the landside and airside of terminal buildings.
1923: School of Naval Aviation founded near Galeão beach.
1941: Galeão Air Force Base built.
1952: Passenger terminal built, civic and military services were separated.
1977: New passenger terminal opened known today as Passenger Terminal 1. The old terminal became the facility of the military base.
1999: Passenger Terminal 2 opened.
1999: Airports renamed as Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport.
2012: Terminals 1 and 2 renovated in the preparation for the 2014 Olympic Games.
The older T1 is rarely in use and is partially occupied by bank and post offices, customs and passport service. The airport hotel is located in the northern part of T1. T2 hosts the majority of domestic and all international traffic. It has connecting corridor to T1 as well as the Southern Pier.
Two runways are used independently with the air traffic separated for takeoffs from one of the runways and landings at the other.
Galeão Air Force Base has the following units based:
1st Squadron of the 1st Transportation Group (1°/1°GT), the Gordo Squadron, using C-130H and KC-130H (Lockheed C-130 Hercules) aircraft for transport and aerial refueling missions.
1st Squadron of the 2nd Transportation Group (1°/2°GT), the Condor Squadron, using C-99A (Embraer ERJ 145) aircraft for transport, including for the missions of the Brazilian Air Force Passenger Services.
2nd Squadron of the 2nd Transportation Group (2°/2°GT), the Corsário Squadron, using KC-137 (Boeing 707) aircraft for aerial refueling and transport missions.
3rd Squadron of Air Transportation (3°ETA), the Pioneiro Squadron, using C-95 and C-95B (Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante) and C-97 (Embraer EMB 120 Brasília) aircraft for transport, logistics, and humanitarian missions.
1. Banks offices area, T1
The best spot is the banks offices area on the second floor (level 3) of T1. The area has big windows overlooking apron between T1 and T2, and parking positions for domestic flights. International parking area at T2 is not visible well. All movements at RWY 15/33 can be seen from here, as well as aircraft movements to/from the terminals from/to RWY 10/28.
To get to the spot use the link corridor from the second floor (level 3, departure) of T2 to T1, than use escalators to the highest level of T1 and go to the southern part of T1 where banks offices and ATMs are located. This spotting location is the only area on the landside zone of the airport where view on the apron and runways is possible.
2. Departures T2
Second spot is within the airside zone of T2 and so is available for passengers only. Both domestic and international areas of the departure level of T2 have panoramic windows overlooking the apron and RWY 15/33. Domestic area at the northern part of the terminal building is overlooking the apron between T2 and T1, while international area occupies most of the semicircular building of T2 and its windows face west and south.
As spotting locations are within the terminal buildings, they are absolutely safe. Spotting from the area around threshold 28 in the eastern part of the airport perimeter is possible, but the adjacent slum residential areas are not safe, so spotting from there is not recommended.
Full Name: Galeão - Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport
10/28 4000 m Concrete
15/33 3180 m Asphalt
Passengers: 16.243 mln
Aircraft Operations: 120138
Gol Transportes Aeros
Aerolíneas Argentinas operated by Austral Líneas Aérea
Azul Brazilian Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Gol Transportes Aéreos
LOT Polish Airlines
Norwegian Air Shuttle
Royal Air Maroc
TAAG Angola Airlines
TAP Air Portugal
LATAM Cargo Brasil
LATAM Cargo Chile
LATAM Cargo Colombia
Rio Linhas Aéreas
Sky Lease Cargo
View from the spotting location 1 at Terminal 1
LATAM Brazil A321 (PT-XPB), SL1
Avianca Brazil A320 (PR-OKM), SL1
Gol B737-800 (PR-GUR) in Brazilian Football Confederation special livery, SL2
Brazilian Air Force B767-300ER (FAB2900), SL1
Azul Embraer 195AR (PR-AYH), SL1
LATAM Brazil A321 (PT-XPM), SL1
Avianca, A330-200 (N280AV), SL1
Gulfstream G550 (PR-WRO), Aero Rio Taxi Aereo, SL1
American Airlines B777-200 (N774AN), SL2
Gol B737-800 (PR-GXE), SL2
LATAM Brazil A321 (PT-MXI), SL2
Download Etceterini’s Rio de Janeiro Galeão Spotting Guide in pdf