Saturday, August 25, 2012

PHOTO GALLERY: BRAZIL PHOTOGRAPHY: Rio de Janeiro's Santos Dumont Airport - Part 1 of 3

The editor of this blog traveled to Brazil for business recently but found time to visit Rio de Janeiro's Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) for some photography courtesy of the generosity of a couple of local spotters/photographers.

Santos Dumont is one of two airports with commercial airline flights serving the Rio de Janeiro area, the other being Galeao (GIG).  SDU is adjacent to Rio's "Centro" business district and has all domestic flights, with about half serving the "air bridge" to Sao Paulo's Congonhas (CGH) Airport, while GIG has a mix of domestic and international flights with service to the US, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and around South America.

SDU is built on a man-made island reclaimed from Guanabara Bay and has two parallel runways, 2L/20R and 2R/20L, 4,134 ft. and 4,341 long, respectively, with the waters of the bay at either end so there is little room for error when operating to/from this airfield.  The runways are apparently too close to one another for simultaneous operations as your editor witnessed aircraft lining up for takeoff on 2R with none using 2L at the same time, which is actually closer to the terminal.  This would also explain why SDU is slot-controlled with a maximum of 23 operations per hour.  It could also be that all planes opt for 2R/20L because of its extra 200 ft. !

Six airlines operate out of Santos Dumont using the equipment listed below.  There are no small commuter airlines flying from SDU.                 

TAM Airlines:                  A319

Gol Transportes Aereos:   737-700, 737-800

Webjet (owned by Gol):   737-300, 737-800
Azul Linhas Aereas:         Embraer 190, 195

Trip (owned by Azul):      ATR-42, ATR-72, Embraer 175, 190

Avianca Brasil:               A318, A319, F100

Many business jets operate into Santos Dumont, some small private aircraft, plus the Brazilian Air Force has an office at SDU with a steady number of passenger flights operating from the facility.

Your editor visited SDU with his gracious host on early Monday morning, August 13, when the airport is at its busiest serving business travelers.  Morning operations are almost always departing/arriving using 2R with a switch to 20L around noon.  All aircraft shot below are landing on or taking off from 2R.

Afternoon shot of Santos Dumont (SDU) taken from Rio's famous
Sugarloaf Mountain.  Note the TAM A319 climbing out from runway 20L.

TAM A319, PR-MBU, about to land on SDU's runway 2R

TAM A319, PT-TMA, with "4000 A320 Family" sticker commemorating
that milestone for Airbus.  The plane is getting ready for takeoff on 2R.

Gol 737-700, PR-VBW, about to touch down on 2R.

Gol 737-800, PR-GUD, taxis out to the 2R threshold for takeoff.

Webjet 737-300, PR-WJL, gets ready to roll on 2R.

One of Webjet's new 737-800's, PR-GGF, landing on 2R.  Note Corcovado
& the Cristo Redentor statue in the distance between the landing gears.

Photos: Phil Perry

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