IATA Asks Brazil To Reevaluate Limit Imposition At Rio Santos Dumont

Santos Dumont Airport

Rio De Janeiro Santos Dumont Airport

Credit: Donatas Dabravolskas / Alamy Stock Photo

IATA is asking Brazil’s government to reconsider a recent decision to impose restrictions at Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont airport. 

On Aug. 10, the Brazilian government issued a resolution that would restrict scheduled commercial flights at the airport to domestic markets within a 400 km (248 mi.) radius starting Jan. 2, 2024, IATA said.

Santos Dumont is a slot-restricted secondary airport serving the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area. The city’s major connecting airport is Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport.

But in 2022, Santos Dumont handled more passengers than Galeão. Roughly 10.1 million passengers traveled through Santos Dumont in 2022 compared with 5.9 million for Galeão. Data from Aviation Week’s CAPA shows that airlines operating from Santos Dumont offer service to 19 domestic destinations. From Galeão, airlines operate to a total of 32 destinations—14 domestic, seven in Europe, eight in Latin America, one in the Middle East and two in North America. 

Brazil’s major airlines—Azul, GOL and LATAM Airlines Brazil—operate from Santos Dumont. GOL is the largest airline at the airport measured by departing frequencies with a share of 37%, followed by LATAM at 32% and Azul at 31%. The largest routes measured by weekly departing frequencies from Santos Dumont are to Sao Paulo Congonhas (393) and Brasilia (116). 

IATA warned that roughly 60% of currently scheduled flights from Santos Dumont are to destinations other than Congonhas and Brasilia, and it is unlikely they would be transferred entirely to Galeão. 

“A prosperous aviation sector is based on market dynamics, so the decision on which destinations to serve from Santos Dumont should be left to passenger demand and airline supply,” IATA Regional VP for The Americas Peter Cerda said. 

Lori Ranson

Lori covers North American and Latin airlines for Aviation Week and is also a Senior Analyst for CAPA - Centre for Aviation.