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Viracopos Airport completes 60 years of trading history

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However, on October 19, 1960, Viracopos was added to the international airport category and approved for jet aircraft, initiating a history of ups and downs in its trajectory as an important reference in Brazilian commercial aviation. Here are some details about the airport on his 60th birthday.

Viracopos International Airport is 14 kilometers from the center of Campinas (SP) and 99 kilometers from São Paulo and can be reached from the Santos Dumont, Bandeirantes and Annexuera motorways.

In one of the most important technology centers in the country, in the city of Campinas, served by universities, highways and high-tech companies, the airport is now one of the most expressive air traffic centers in the country.

The old “airfield”, as it was called, has become one of the most important connecting points in Latin America. In the 1990s the airport began to develop for the International Air Cargo segment and showed its vocation for cargo.

Viracopos Cargo Terminal – Image: ABV Aeroportos Brasil Viracopos

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Viracopos International Airport was established in the 1930s but was not officially approved until 1960.

During the revolution of 1932, the Paulists used the site as a field for air operations, with the runway being built on picks and pickaxes. After a long period of inactivity, work was carried out in 1946 to clean and ground the runway, which stretched for 1,500 meters. This was one occasion that the airfield took shape, mainly with the construction of the first hangar in 1948 and the Passengers station in 1950.

In 1957, the thorough construction and installation of all equipment required for an international airport began, for example with the extension of the runway to 2,700 mx 45 m.

On October 19, 1960, Viracopos was added to the category of international airport by Ministerial Decree No. 756 and approved for jet aircraft. Until the inauguration of the Guarulhos airport, international flights were carried from São Paulo.

Viracopos 1960 – Image: National Archives of Brazil / public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Since then, several reforms have been implemented at the airport to keep track of the evolution of aviation. Despite the loss of flights to Guarulhos, Viracopos became a reference in the movement of large cargo planes.

From 1995, Infraero began investing in the implementation of the first phase of the airport’s master plan, with improvements to the cargo and passenger terminals.

The first phase of the work was carried out in the first half of 2004 when the airport received new boarding, arrival, public areas and commercial concessions. In 2005 the second phase of the expansion of the passenger terminal was delivered.

In addition to the expansion of the infrastructure, the modernization of cargo handling and customs clearance, which was developed in collaboration with the Federal Revenue Service, made the airport the most important logistics center in the national scenario.

Antonov AN-124 landing at Viracopos Airport Boeing 747-400F from Atlas landing at Viracopos Airport

After decades of low passenger traffic, Viracopos became a hub for Azul Linhas Aéreas at the beginning of the last decade, again with significant numbers of people arriving and departing.

Finally, in 2012 the airfield was awarded to the concessionaire Aeroportos Brasil Viracopos, a measure that led to the construction of the new and modern passenger terminal with a capacity of up to 25 million people per year and which earned Campinas airport several awards for its efficiency and quality of the for the services provided to users.

New passenger terminal in Viracopos Aerial view of the new passenger terminal – Image: Ricardo Lima / Aeroportos Brasil Viracopos

With information from Infraero and Aeroportos Brasil Viracopos

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