The majority of foreign travelers arriving in Rio de Janeiro will enter Brazil via Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport, Rio's largest airport and one of the country's top international gateways. Also known as Galeão International Airport (and, more recently, RIOgaleão), Rio de Janeiro International Airport is a convenient and largely modern facility, but there are a few items to keep in mind before and during your trip. Here's everything you need to know before landing at Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport.
Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport Code, Location and Contact Information
- Code: GIG
- Location: About 25 minutes due north of central Rio, assuming normal traffic conditions
- Website: RIOgaleão Official Website
- Flight Tracker: https://www.riogaleao.com/passageiros/painel-de-voo
- Map: https://www.riogaleao.com/passageiros/airport-map
- Phone Number: +55 21 3004-6050
Know Before You Go
Rio de Janeiro airport is divided into two terminals, although only the check-in areas of Terminal 2 are in use. This means that regardless of which gate you end up flying out of, you will need to proceed to Terminal 2 when you first arrive at the airport. The majority of airlines use Terminal 2, with Brazilian airlines Azul, GOL and Flyways as the main exception to this rule. Both terminals accommodate a combination of domestic and international flights.
Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport Parking
Rio de Janeiro airport is home to just one parking lot on its premises, which is officially operated by the airport and costs 56 reals per day. External parking options operated by third parties, with shuttle service to and from the airport terminals, also exist.
Driving Directions to Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport
Driving from central Rio de Janeiro to the airport will partially take you on the João Goulart Presidential Expressway, but the journey also uses local roads. As a result, it's better to use a GPS system or your phone's map application than follow a fixed route, as the quickest way can be highly variable.
Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport Public Transportation and Taxis
Passengers have many ways to receive Galeão International Airport from central Rio de Janeiro, including the following:
- BRT (Bus Rapid Transit): The Transcarioca rapid bus network (which can avail dedicated lanes and therefore bypass traffic) operate between the airport and several depots in Rio, including Carvalho Station, where you can transfer to MetrôRio.
- Other bus transport: In addition to regular city buses (which most tourists should avoid), a number of privately-operated express buses named with "Premium" plus a route number operate between GIG airport and various points in central Rio.
- Ride sharing: Uber is the easiest way for foreigners to use private car transport from Rio airport, since you can order your ride safely and securely via an English-language interface. Uber also tends to be cheaper than taxis in Rio.
- Taxis: Unless your hotel pre-arranges a taxi, this is generally not a great way to get into the city from the airport. Although most taxis are safe, they are known for price-gouging foreigners, especially those who don't speak Portuguese.
Where to Shop at Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport
Shopping at Rio de Janeiro leaves something to be desired, by international standards. Although both terminals have duty free shops, the high-end luxury brand boutiques of many airports in Asia and Europe are absent in Galeão Airport. The most common sort of shop at Rio de Janeiro airport is the Brazil souvenir shop, of which there are several. Dining options at Rio airport are also somewhat limited.
How to Spend Your Layover at Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport
Transferring between flights in Rio de Janeiro is generally a seamless process, unless you are transferring from international to domestic, in which case you will need to clear immigration and re-clear security. Keep this in mind as you plan your layover. In general, most travelers will simply want to shop, dine, or access a lounge, though those with more than 6-8 hours might be able to venture into the city center, keeping in mind that traffic conditions are highly variable (and often awful).
Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport Lounges
As of November 2019, Rio de Janeiro Airport is home to four lounges. In addition to branches of the Plaza Premium Lounge (which is a member of the Priority Pass lounge network) in the domestic terminal and in the international arrivals area, two lounges operate in the international departures area of Terminal 2:
- Rio de Janeiro Star Alliance Lounge: Accessible to first- and business-class passengers on Star Alliance member airlines, as well as passengers holding Star Alliance gold status traveling on those airlines in any class.
- Plaza Premium Lounge: Like the domestic and arrivals lounge, this facility is accessible to Priority Pass card holders, and also for non-members upon invitation or a la carte payment.
Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport Tips & Facts
In addition to all the information you've read above, here are some additional essential tips and facts about Rio de Janeiro International Airport:
- GIG is not Rio de Janeiro's only airport. Although Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport handles the majority of inbound traffic to Rio, the city has a second airport (Santos Dumont Airport), which is closer to the city center but is also limited to domestic flights.
- Galeão Airport has improved over the years, but it's not a "destination airport." While you'll want to arrive at GIG with plenty of time for your flight (and to leave early enough for inbound traffic), you'll want to avoid staying too long at this facility, which is not in the same league as, say, Singapore's Changi airport.
- Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport has a long and interesting history. Having been started in 1923 as a Naval Aviation School, GIG airport also served as a Brazilian Air Force base until 1952, when the airport opened to passenger traffic.
- The airport has been named for a famous Brazilian musician since 1999. Prior to taking the name of Antônio Carlos Jobim, one of the people credited with popularizing bossa nova around the world, the airport (which is still commonly known as Galeão Airport) was simply known by the same name as nearby Galeão (Galleon) Beach.