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AIRPORT DESIGN Last modified on June 14, 2016

Project watch - São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport

São Paulo gateway’s new Terminal 2 on schedule to open as planned at the end of 2016.

Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Important developments: Creation of new Terminal 2
Scheduled completion: December 2016
Principal companies involved: Fernandes Arquitetos Associados; EBEI Engenharia; Saguez & Rocha; Invepar; Airport Consulting Vienna (ACV), Aéroports de Paris Engineering (ADPI)
Total investment: $50 million


The $50 million retrofit and transformation of São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport’s former terminals 1 and 2 into a single, new-look passenger complex is taking shape, with just under eight months left to go on the project.

The creation of a new Terminal 2 from the former facilities will equip the gateway with some of the most modern and passenger friendly airport facilities in Brazil, including the new 192,000sqm Terminal 3 opened in 2014.

According to the airport, the desire to increase its operational capacity; offer more comfort and convenience to passengers; ensure faster boarding and arrival procedures; and improved retail and F&B facilities – the size of the shopping area will double – are the key drivers behind the upgrade.

Architecturally, São Paulo–Guarulhos – which is also known as GRU Airport following a 2012 rebrand – claims that its new Terminal 2 will provide “ample spaces and lighting and a more modern look” with expanded check-in, baggage claim, and boarding and arrival areas.

It will also feature a single, centralised security area for the screening of all passengers and cabin baggage.

The concessions layout for T2 will include the construction of ‘GRU Avenue’, a dedicated 1,750 square metre airside area for around 20 shops, restaurants and bars with views of the airfield. In addition, the terminal will also have a mezzanine level landside food court.

GRU Airport’s commercial team supported by Austria’s Airport Consulting Vienna (ACV) conducted the implementation study for the new concessions area, which is expected to welcome around 25 million passengers per annum.

ACV has also identified the need for two additional stores selling souvenirs, gifts, clothing and accessories in the boarding pier access hall, shortly after the security checkpoint.

The airport reveals that future contracts for this new area will reflect its “new business strategy”, the key to which is the introduction of a mix of local and international outlets to ensure a portfolio of market-recognised brands. 

“Our goal is to increase the number of commercial establishments and, at the same time, increase the scale of our commercial contracts by negotiating directly with the best known brands in each retail segment,” explains GRU Airport’s CEO, Gustavo Figueiredo.

Figueiredo notes that the number of retail/F&B outlets at the airport has increased from 102 to 234 since Guarulhos International Airport SA took over responsibility for operating the gateway in June 2012.

As a result, non-aeronautical revenues now account for 51% of the airport’s income as opposed to 35% just four years ago. 

Brazil’s busiest gateway needs the new terminal to keep pace with soaring traffic demand, which has more than trebled over the last decade from 12.9mppa in 2004 to 39.5 million in 2014.

The airport has appointed Brazil’s Fernandes Arquitetos Associados in partnership with EBEI Engenharia to spearhead the T2 project.

The airport says that the main goal is to make the new Terminal 2 – essentially created by retrofitting two 30 year old buildings – achieve close to the same standards of service offered by the airport’s new showpiece T3, which it notes was inspired by the world’s best airports and boasts innovative technologies and equipment. 

Creative solutions being employed by the design team to help it try achieve this lofty ambition are said to include better lighting and the use of materials that help project an ambiance of “modernity, “coziness, quality and simplicity”; the use of ceilings, floors and colours to create natural flows through T2; and the concentration of F&B outlets to form true food courts.

Fernandes Arquitetos Associados believes that the use of natural light with unobstructed views will also help make T2 a “peaceful environment”. 

In readiness for T2’s opening upon completion of the second phase of its development last December, the airport’s existing Terminal 4 became the airport’s new Terminal 1.

Concessionaire, Guarulhos International Airport SA, counts the Invepar Group, Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and Brazil’s state-owned airport operator, Infraero, as shareholders.

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