February 2002

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Conclusions

As we'd only had the one Ciaparinhi the night before we didn't feel too bad at 0630 on the Tuesday morning, as the first departures 'wound up' and the sun rose to flood into the room from across the airfield. Today was the day we had the privilege of visiting the local aircraft manufacturer, although with five executive jet departures in the first hour or so of the day, we were worried that maybe Tuesday is a busier one for biz at CGH than Monday, and here we were going out for the day.

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These five were ....

Tue 5/2/02 Sao Paulo-Congonhas CGH/SBSP (0630-0830 including a trip to the breakfast room)

PT-LOS Citation I 0239
PT-WHF Beech 400A RK-082
PT-WHG Beech 400A RK-054
PT-WON Citation II 0641
PT-XLR Learjet 45 048

As it was a private visit to Embraer, and as photography and note-taking is not allowed in the facility, I won't be going into too much detail here. Sao Jose dos Campos is about 80km out of Sao Paulo and is situated within very pretty countryside. The airfield itself, like Congonhas, appeared to be built at the top of a hill/plateau, and I doubt if much could be gained from an 'outside of the fence' visit. It does have a terminal however, with just a handful of daily scheduled services, but this is situated in between the Embraer facility and a military base so security is likely to be high. One of the more interesting road signs I've ever seen anywhere (actually on Ayrton Senna Highway for you Grand Prix fans) on the way to SJdC, indicated the position of the Tropic of Capricorn running across the road just to the north of Sao Paulo !.

Returning to Congonhas early afternoon, and with a 'quick turnaround' planned for an afternoon/evening visit to the international airport at Guarulhos, it was interesting to note that CGH had 'switched ends' with departures going off 35 - unfortunately we didn't have too much time to hang around at the hotel, but with a relatively short runway, high temperatures, and some very long take-off rolls having been observed off 17R in the previous day or two, the Golden Flats must be a pretty impressive place to sit and watch 'long' departures off 35, what with the threshold of 17R being directly in front of you and below !.

We wandered up to the airport to catch the bus to Guarulhos - there is an 'Airport Shuttle' ticket desk in the corridor leading south from the main arrivals area, with the buses (marked 'Airport Shuttle') directly outside. This one is a little more expensive than the buses linking the two main Rio airports, but at 14R$ is still very reasonable. Back along the same heavily congested roads that we'd struggled through the morning traffic earlier on our way to Embraer, and within 45minutes to an hour you're out in relatively open countryside at Guarulhos.

The Guarulhos terminal, like Rio-Galeao, is also split into two sections, with each again having two easily-found areas with large windows looking out over the airfield. The airport has two piers sticking out from the terminal building, and outside of this two remote pier-like structures housing ground equipment etc., beyond which aircraft can be hidden and consequently difficult to identify. At the right-hand side is the cargo area, with a lot of the day-stopping American wide-bodies hanging around at the end of the remote 'pier' (do these N-reg aircraft ever move in Brazil ?!), whilst on the left hand side of the main terminal parking stands is an area of stored, and seemingly almost derelict aircraft, most of which can be easily read. Across the two main runways is a General Aviation Parking area, directly across from the passenger terminal, with a military area to the left of this as you look across the runways.

A full log for the afternoon/evening .....

Tue 5/2/02 Sao Paulo-Guarulhos GRU/SBGR (1600-2000)

Brasil Rodo Aereo PR-BRA 737-33A 23830 1462
Brasil Rodo Aereo PR-BRB 737-3Q4 24210 1577
Brasil Rodo Aereo PR-BRE 737-3K9 24213 1794
GOL Transportes Aereos PR-GOJ 737-8CX 32359 1041
Pantanal Linhas Aereas PT-MFJ 42-320 343
Pantanal Linhas Aereas PT-MFX 42-310 329
Rio Sul PT-SPG ERJ.145ER 038
TAM Brasil PT-MQF F.100 11401
TAM Brasil PT-MQL F.100 11394
TAM Brasil PT-MRH F.100 11305
TAM Brasil PT-MRQ F.100 11473
TAM Brasil PT-MVA A.330-223 0232
TAM Brasil PT-MZI A.320-232 1246
TAM Brasil PT-MZM A.320-232 0453
TAM Brasil PT-MZT A.320-232 1486
TAM Brasil PT-MZW A.320-232 1580
TAM Brasil PT-MZY A.320-232 1628
TCB PP-TPC DC-8-52F 45752 233
VARIG PP-VNN 767-241ER 23803 161
VARIG PP-VNX 737-33A 23829 1460
VARIG PP-VOE 737-341 24276 1645
VARIG PP-VOH 737-341 24279 1673
VARIG PP-VOI 767-341ER 24752 289
VARIG PP-VOJ 767-341ER 24753 291
VARIG PP-VOR 737-33A 24093 1727
VARIG PP-VOW 737-3Q8 24961 2133
VARIG PP-VOY 737-3K9 25210 2090

VARIG PP-VPB 737-341 26856 2321
VARIG PP-VQB 737-76N 28582 154
VARIG PP-VQD 737-76N 28584 170
VARIG PP-VQE 737-76N 28585 173
VARIG PP-VQM MD-11 48414 491
VARIG PP-VQO 737-3M8 24377 1719
VARIG PP-VQP 737-36N 28564 2936
VARIG PP-VQS 737-4Y0 24513 1779
VARIG PP-VQT 737-4Y0 24692 1963
VARIG PP-VQV 727-243F 22166 1725
VARIG PP-VQW 737-3S3 23787 1374
VASP PP-SMF 737-2A1 20589 301
VASP PP-SMH 737-2A1 20778 325
VASP PP-SMP 737-2A1 20779 327
VASP PP-SMS 737-214 20159 193
VASP PP-SNM A.300B2-203 0205
VASP PP-SPI 737-2Q3 21476 519

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International Traffic - United Boeing 777 N770UA, Iberia Airbus A.340 EC-GPB, Delta MD-11 N808DE, LAB Boeing 737-300 CP-2313, Swissair MD-11 HB-IWM, Lan Chile Boeing 767-300 CC-CZW, TAP Airbus A.340 CS-TOB, British Airways Boeing 777 G-YMMI, Air France Boeing 777 F-GSPS, South African Boeing 747 ZS-SAL & Alitalia Boeing 767-300 I-DEIL.

Stored airliners - 2x Nacional 737-200 PR-NAC & PR-NCT, Fly 727 PP-BLR and another in a different colour-scheme PP-LBO, Boeing 707 PT-MST and DC-8 PP-TNZ. Boeing 737-200 PP-SMV is parked behind the fire station on the other side of the runway, and F-27 PT-LAF appears to be stored on the GA ramp.

The GA ramp held a number of executive jets, unfortunately all parked nose-on, and not readable from the terminal - you would appear to need a car, or take a very long walk, to get to a position around the end of the runways where you could get an angle onto these biz. Very frustrating looking from the terminal however, as none seemed to be ready to depart - there was a Global Express, two Gulfstream IIIs and a GIV (all seemed to be N-reg), but more significantly a pair of CitationJets.

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The GOL Boeing 737-800 was parked on the military ramp with engine covers on, which made us think it had been 'parked'. Things new came in threes for me here, three more TAM A.320s, three VASP Boeing 737-200s and another three VARIG Boeing 737-3/400s - the whole Brasil Rodo Aereo fleet was on the ground at the same time at one point, including Boeing 737-300 PR-BRE, the ex CS-TIG of Euro-Atlantic Airways, and a weekly Newcastle visitor during Summer 2001. It took us a little time to realise that the two carrier's colour-schemes are exactly the same designs, but different colours (the Portuguese design is different shades of blue, while the Brazillian carrier's is different shades of brown) - obviously some link-up. We had intended to wait for the Aerolineas Argentina MD-88 which was scheduled in around 2000L but the display boards were still showing 'no info' so we called it a night. The information desk in each terminal incidentally has a computer screen showing two pages of arrivals with registrations for most of the flights - you may have to ask to view these screens however as they are angled away slightly.

The Guarulhos terminal has much more in the way of shops/facilities than the Galeao terminal - an internet cafe, a MacDonalds (great to taste a Big Mac again after some decidedly dodgy'local' hamburgers in the previous few days !), a Pizza Hut, and another American Express money exchange kiosk, which may have been vital for us at this stage of the trip if Brazil wasn't such a cheap country. We caught the Airport Shuttle back to Congonhas, from the arrivals level and took the short walk back to the hotel.

Seen during another 'quick turnaround' in room 916 at about 2100 .....

Tue 5/2/02 Sao Paulo-Congonhas CGH/SBSP (2100)

TAM Brasil PT-MZN A.320-231 0440

PP-OAA Citation Bravo 0954

We were now down to just two TAM A.320s !

We had our last evening meal in Brazil, in the restaurant adjacent to the Golden Flats Hotel again - this time I had a 'broto' pizza, the waiter smiling knowingly - I think we surprised him however when we ordered a second Ciaparinhi, but we were still (just) able to walk out of the restaurant un-aided. The waiter summed up almost all of the locals we had had dealings with in the previous week - extremely helpful, jolly, and not afraid to 'take the mickey' out of us slightly, which was a nice touch.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Conclusions

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