Rio de Janeiros (IATA: GIG / ICAO: SBGL) major airport, also known as Galeão Airport, is named after a famous Brazilian conductor, Antonio Carlos Jobim. With 14 Mio passengers in 2019, it is the second busiest international airport in Brazil. GIG has the longest runway in South America and is located on an island called Ilha do Governador, but it is a short drive from the city.
Currently, around 26 airlines operate at the airport, with flights to Europe, North America, East Asia, in addition to flights to South America and several Brazilian cities. Main airlines are Lufthansa, Iberia, TAP, Emirates, Alitalia, Aerolines Argentinas, LATAM Argentina, American Airlines, United, Delta and the National carriers, LATAM, GOL, AZUL, ITA.
The Supersonic Concorde, which operated here in the colors of Air France, connected Rio and Paris from 1976 to 1982.
Due to the social characteristics of Rio de Janeiro, this airport is not very easy for non-local planespotters. The locations are far from the terminal and with private administration there is a tightening against spotters. Especially at points 1 and 2 , which are the best spots, the local spotters are in talks with the administration for a better treatment for planespotters.
Written by Igor Santorsula, Breno Dantas and Ediney Ribeiro. Last Update: August2021
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|10 / 28||4.000 m (13.123 ft) Concret|
|15 / 33||3.180 m (10.433 ft) Asphalt|
|Terminal 1||Currently disabled for passengers.|
|Terminal 2||Is the main one used today.|
|Car/Public Transport||You will need a car if you want to go to external points as there is no public transport connecting the airport to the photography sites.|
|Restrooms||Only at points 3 and 4, in the others you will be in open field.|
|Drinks/Food||Only at points 3 and 4 as you will be inside the terminal. At point 7 it is possible to find something in local bars, but we advise you to take water and some food.|
|Hotels||There is a hotel inside terminal 01 and Inns and hotels near the airport|
|Season||The weather for taking pictures in Rio is good practically all year round, with the rainy season agreeing in the months of December and January.|
|Security||You should always be careful when photographing in Rio de Janeiro, the city has some points where there may be robbery attempts, so if you are able to go to places accompanied, always choose this option, in places 1,2 we believe not there are problems with violence, but you must be careful with places 5, 6 and 7.|
|General Info||Everything depends on the wind and always one of the two runways is active.|
|10/28||Less in use du to the distance to the terminals. Prefered directions are 10 for departures and 28 for arrivals.|
|15/33||The most used runway for both, landings and takeoffs whilst 15 is more frequent in use.|
|Spot #1 – “Apoio” LSG Skychefs – 15 movements, 33 departures|
|WHERE||One of the best places at GIG is in an area called “Apoio”, on a lawn overlooking runway 15. It is close to companies that provide support to airlines, warehouses, catering etc. like LSG Skychef.
To get here from the terminals take the highway to the left (Avenue 20 de Janeiro) and go straight ahead, passing under two viatudos and proceed until you reach the support area. Look for the headquarters of LGS Skychefs, on the side. A car is needed to come here, there is no public transport.UPDATE OCT 2021: The field as seen below is now fenced off and it is no longer possible to make ground photos. Arrival photos are still possible but trees and lamp posts obstructing the view.
|WHAT||Excellent for photos of landings on runway 15
|TIME||Best time for photos here is in the afternoon after 12:00 for the planes in the taxi, but better in the morning for photos of landings around 15, varying according to the time of year.|
|MISC.||There are no places to buy drinks or food and you must take everything here. There is also not much shade.
This location is currently being heavily watched by airport security, especially after privatization. If the security guards see you here, they will ask you to leave immediately. The local spotters are trying with the airport administration to make it easier for you to stay here, but so far have not been successful.
|FOCAL LENGTH||Takeoffs /Landings: 150-270 mm
|Spot #2 – Viaduct – Taxiway to/from runway 10/28|
|WHERE||It’s also in the place in the “Apoio” area. To get there go to location #1 but don`t go all the way there instead pass the Viaduct (taxiway bridge) and stop by the roadside to take the photos.|
|WHAT||Aircraft nothern taxiway on the viaduct that connects runway 10/28 to the airport. Usually arrivals use this side of the taxiway.|
|TIME||Best time after 12pm|
|MISC.||We can repeat here the problems that are occurring with the previous location. There is not much shade and nothing around for support.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||You can use 70-300mm|
No pictures available.
|Spot #3 – Terminal 1 – Ramp|
|WHERE||This location is inside terminal 1, which is currently disabled for use, but there are some services here, such as banks and offices of the Brazilian Federal Police. It is a glassed-in location, from which you have a view of the terminal 2 apron. To get here from terminal 2, just go to the end of this terminal and go through a huge blue door, take a ramp and walk for about 200 meters, you will find an elevator take it to the second floor and leaving you will see the place.|
|WHAT||Aircraft arrivals and departures from terminal 2 is basically what you’ll get here.|
|TIME||Basically all day, depending on the angle of the aircraft.|
|MISC||Even it’s next to the Federal Police offices, it’s possible to stay here without any problems, because the place is public and anyone can come here. The area is glazed, so the photos can give some reflections.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Wide Body – 60-150mm
Narrow Boby : 70-220mm
|Spot #4 – Terminal 2 – Ramp|
|WHERE||For this location you need a valid boarding pass so it is only accessible after the security area. While you wait for your plane it is possible to make some registration, the windows are clean but reflections can occur.|
|WHAT||Aircraft in taxi arriving and leaving the gates|
|TIME||Basically all day, depending on the angle of the aircraft.|
|MISC||You are inside the terminal, so everything you need is here.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Wide Body – 40-100mm
Narrow Boby : 60-120mm
|Spot #5 – BRT Line – 33 arrivals|
|WHERE||Ideal for photographing landings on runway 33. The location is between busy highways the Galeão road and the BRT highway, to get here, put the “Galeão TECA” parking lot on the GPS is the closest place to park, and then you you should walk for about 800 meters.|
|WHAT||Ideal for taking photos of landings on runway 33, which is rare, usually landings on the GIG run on runway 15, but eventually it can happen.|
|TIME||Here you can photograph both in the morning and in the afternoon, as you just have to follow the sunlight.|
|MISC.||It is a complicated place for those who are not from the city, it is between busy highways, and there is no place to park nearby, there are no toilets, and security here is not good, it is advisable to keep precautions and preferably go in a group or with some local spotters .|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Wide Body – 50-150mm
Narrow Body : 60-200 mm
|Spot #6 – Morrinho de GIG “GIG HILL” – 28 arrivals, 10 heavy deparutres|
|WHERE||This is a popular spot among GRU Spotters, from where you can make some very nice photos. But it is the furthest location from the terminal, within the island where the airport is located. To get here, leaving terminal 2, take the highway (Avenue 20 de Janeiro) that reaches the airport towards the city. When you get close to the first viatudo, pass by the side of it and then go underneath taking the road from Maracajás and go straight ahead taking the Avenida Bras Crispino. Drive into the city of Portugesa and make a u-turn just to drive back the same road. At the cities border turn right into the Praia de Tubiacanga street and after a few kilometers keep left and take the Oitenta e Sete street. The street becomes a dirt road in the small village and follow this till the end (see map). But putting the destination “GRU hill” on the GPS, it is possible to get there correctly.|
|WHAT||Landings and takeoffs along runway 10/28 with an excellent view.|
|TIME||Best time is after 12:00|
|MISC||This place is within a community and we advise that you DO NOT GO HERE ALONE, preferably with local spotters. Keep in mind that it is a remote place, with no police. There are no shadows, and there is nowhere to buy food and drinks, although in the community you can enter small establishments that sell food and water.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Wide Body : 100-150mm
Narrow Body : 150-250 mm
|Spot #7 – Corredor Esportivo – 28 arrivals|
|WHERE||The spot is along a boardwalk in the city of Portugese, used by the local residents to practice sports, there are several courts and jogging and walking tracks. To get here, just follow the directions to go to point 06 and follow Avenida Bras Crispino and then Avenida do Maristério and then you will see the location on your left. Parking is available along the street.|
|WHAT||For photos of runway 28 landings.|
|TIME||Only in the morning until around 11am, after that the sun starts to set against it.|
|MISC||There is a lot of shade here, and some snack bars and you will also find people playing sports, always pay attention to your equipment and if possible always go with someone but in general it is a safe place.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Wide Body : 80-150mm
Narrow Body : 100-250 mm
You’re welcome, Julian!
Yes, it is but you’ll have to find a place where you can avoid trees, lamp posts and fences… It’s not so easy like it was before they put the new fence…
I would like to believe that is just temporary but I don’t think so…
Very good! A spotterguide of GIG was really missing.
But unfortunately, the spotting location number one is no more available. Few days ago, they put a fence all around the grass. So we cannot walk over the grass to reach a position where we could photograph over the fence. And it seems to me that they did it to keep the spotters away from that place.
Thank you for the info Rafael. I hope it is just temporary. Otherwise it would be a pretty ridiculous move from the authorities.
15 arrivals should be possible anyway from this point, isn`t it?