Manaus, a metropolis of more than 2 million inhabitants, is nestled in the middle of the Amazon forest. It has no land connection with the rest of southern Brazil, except a dirt road, which is impassable for most time of the year due to the constant rains that fall in the Amazon. Thats why Manaus and the region needs a lot of transports on water as well as from the air. For latter there are three airports, one military, one for general aviation and the Eduardo Gomes International Airport (IATA: MAO, ICAO: SBEG), named after an important figure in Brazilian aviation. In 2019, the airport handled around 3 million passengers and 130 thousand tons of cargo.
Due to the distance of Manaus from the rest of the country and the lack of roads, the airport stands out in the transport of cargo, being the third busiest in the country. In order to develop the region, the government created the Manaus Free Trade Zone a few years ago, which greatly increased the load at the airport.
Currently, several international and national air cargo companies operate in Manaus, on a scheduled base as wekk as charter flights, operated by ATLAS AIR (747), KALITTA (747), CargoLux (747), Transcarga (A300) Avianca Cargo (A330F), Modern Logistics (737), Azul cargo (737), Sideral (737), LATAM Cargo (767), TOTAL air cargo (737).
But Brazilian air companies regularly operate with passengers and cargo: LATAM, GOL, AZUL, VOE PASS, Sideral, Mordern, Total, Amazonaves, Apui, and other smaller air taxi companies. General aviation is very present in MAO, you can see many amphibians, such as Caravans, and others that operate on the Amazon rivers, Executive jets always pass through here, as Manaus is halfway to North America and it is used as a stopover. Embraer always chooses Manaus for stopover when it delivers its E-jets to companies in the United States and Canada.
Before the pandemic, Manaus receives regular flights from Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and the United States and it is believed, that these flights should return later this year.
The airport was handed over to the private sector last year, and the French company Vinci is managing it now.
Written by Ediney Ribeiro (last visit 2022)
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|Terminals||One terminal for all commercial passenger traffic|
|Ladder||No need for it.|
|Car/Public Transport||It is possible to come from the city center to the airport with public transport, just take the bus number 306, which stops in front of the passenger terminal. This bus leaves the urban terminal in downtown Manaus. For locations 1 and 3 you need a car, or go with App vehicles.|
|Drinks/Food||At all spots, food and beverages are available.|
|Hotels||There are some hotels close to the airport, however, there is a huge option to rent rooms and houses by apps very close to the airport.|
|Season||Due to the Amazonas it rains a lot at any given time of the year, but the best weather would be between the months of August to October. But even then, there can many heat waves and the temperatures go up easily to 40 degrees.|
|Security||At locations 1 and 3 some caution is necessary, as it is a large city, there is always the possibility that someone will want to take advantage of you being in a remote location with photographic equipment. So be aware of that! At location 2 there are no problems due to its closeness to the terminal.|
|11/29||11 is the most used direction, lane 29 is very very seldomly in use.|
|Spot #1 – Atem Gas Station, Avenida do Turismo – 11 arrivals|
|WHERE||This loation is close to a gas station called ATEM, on Avenida do Turismo, at runway 11. To get here, from the airport terminal, just take the highway that passes in front of it (Santos Dumont) and go left, then you will reach Avenida do Turismo. Continue southwards and after a few kilometers you will find the ATEM gasoline to the right. Leave the car right here, cross the avenue and you will be at the photo spot.|
|WHAT||Best place to photograph runway 11 arrivals.|
|TIME||From morning until around 3 pm, after that the light is far behind the plane.|
|MISC.||The nearby gas station offers some food and beverages. There is some shade, but all in one you are surrounded by a huge forest and a busy avenue.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||From 30mm to 200mm|
|Spot #2 – Official Spotter Point Filipe Aquino|
|WHERE||There is a small spotting platform located right next to the passenger terminal. It is a short walk and can’t be missed. It is an elevated platform which let the observer to spot over the airport fence. The spot was made especially for plane spotters, built on the initiative of local spotters, with the help of the airport administration. It was named after Spotter Filipe Aquino, a regular at the airport who died recently.|
|WHAT||A good place to photograph the traffic of the ramps infront. All general aviation, business and cargo planes passing by on the taxiway but parked aircraft infront of you may block the sight partially. A good part of the pax traffic can photographed as well.
The runway movements can be seen but due to the high distance and heat distortion, it is not the best option for taking photos, at least for some heavies.
You can see the carcass of two Douglas Dc8, and a Boeing 707, in addition to other abandoned planes. But with the privatization of the airport, these aircraft will be dismantled.
|TIME||Depends on the angle but practically all day.|
|MISC.||The place is covered, so you have shade and in case of rain you are also sheltered. The passenger terminal is a short walk away and everything you need is there.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||50mm for a 777,747, A330 passing in front of you.
100mm for regional, business and general aviation.
300 – 400mm for a 777, 330 737 taking off or landing
400 – 500mm for general and business aviation taking off or landing
|Spot #3 – Av Torquato Tapajós/ Universal Eletronics – 29 arrivals|
|WHERE||The spot is at some banks of the Av. Torquato Tapajos, in front of a company named Universal Electronics. It’s right on the interchange that gives access to the airport and is about 5 kms from the terminal. You can get here by car only.|
|WHAT||From here you can catch the 29 arrivals, but this flow is very rare. So the only reason to go here are the 11 depaurtes. But unfortunately the angle for 11 heavy departures is pretty bad, except some props, that can be photographed pretty good from here as they don`t use the full runway length and are still low.|
|TIME||In the early hours of the morning until 15:00|
|MISC.||It is on the banks of a very busy avenue, with high traffic of people and cars. There is little shade and some street vendors are around here. If you buy something like water, you can even sit on chairs offered in their sales stalls.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||General and Executive Aviation: 300mm
Commercial Aviation: 150-200mm