This marks the beginning of the third stage of the management process change, which is expected to take three to six months, and will see Infraero playing a supporting role.
Rio Galeao, is a partnership between Odebrecht TransPort, Changi Airports International and Infraero, that signed a contract in April 2014 for the expansion, maintenance and operation for a 25-year period.
The operator will transform the gateway, and says it will introduce bilingual customer service representatives, a wider variety of retail, F&B options, and improved car parking facilities with enhanced security and free Wi-Fi service, better public restrooms and nursing rooms, while an improved waste management system will be put in place.
In addition, Rio Galeao says it has been working to attract new airlines to the airport and develop more routes, and will kick-start the development of new infrastructure in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games.
The new brand, Rio Galeao, to be used by the concessionaire, explains it aims to exemplify the rhythm, energy, poetry and natural beauty of Rio de Janeiro.
Rio Galeao president, Luiz Rocha, explains: “We took over the airport operations with a very structured improvement programme, which includes training, resources and investments of about R$5 billion (€1.6 billion) over the 25-year concession, of which R$2 billion (€658 million) will be invested from now to the 2016 Olympics Games, where we hope to welcome our visitors with a superior experience at our airport.
“We know the challenge is big, but we're optimistic that we will achieve all of our goals to offer more comfort and convenience to our customers.”
Prior to taking over, Rio Galeao installed 250 new signs, 150 additional power-charging outlets in the departure halls and new lighting at the car park, but by the end of this year, 1,000 parking spaces in car parks at the two terminals will be covered lots, and signs will be upgraded.
Another 2,100 parking spaces will be available after the construction of four new floors at the car park.
Works are also underway to reconfigure the apron and optimise existing space and create new aircraft parking positions, giving more boarding and disembarking flexibility.
The optimization of space will be completed later this year, and create more space for aircraft that need to park overnight at the gateway.
By 2016, a new concourse featuring 26 new passenger boarding bridges will be connected to Terminal 2, including 68 new check-in counters and the apron area will be increased by 80%, bringing the number of aircraft parking stands to 97.
To enhance operational safety, Rio Galeao has also invested R$10 million (€3.3 million) to purchase four firefighting trucks, which will arrive within the next four months.
The firm has also carried out initiatives to enhance the passenger experience in the terminals, and all boarding gates in Terminal 2 are now equipped with a common system that can be shared by all airlines at the check-in counters and boarding gates, to be installed at all boarding gates and check-in counters in Terminal 1 by January 2015.
Passengers can also enjoy high-speed internet services at public and restricted areas in both terminals, provided by Boingo Wireless, with the first 30 minutes are free of charge, after which the user may choose to continue browsing through a paid service.
A partnership has also been forged with Granado to revamp the four nursing rooms, while the new operator has signed up new F&B tenants, including 365 Deli, Café Suplicy and Espaço Sushi, which will start operations next month.
New retailers will include Zepellin Arts, selling Carioca souvenirs, Maria Oiticica, offering handcrafted jewelry using materials from the Amazon region, and Chocolate Q, stocking products made from Brazilian cocoa.
In the longer term, Rio Galeao says completion of the new concourse in 2016 will also bring airport retail and dining experience to a new level, it says will offer a more diverse mix of retail as well as F&B outlets.
More international brands will also be introduced, along with a mix of Carioca and best-of-Brazil brands to give a distinctive sense of place, while retail areas will be complemented by rest and relaxation areas, events and other airport facilities.
Luiz Rocha, explains: “Rio Galeao will offer new shopping concepts and brands to the airport. We are discussing with potential operators about the upcoming opportunities.
“Passengers can look forward to a unique and exciting shopping experience as part of their travel.”
In 2013, the Brazilian gateway welcomed more than 17 million passengers.