A tale of two airports in Rio de Janeiro

The centrally located Santos Dumont airport is set to be auctioned off to the private sector this year, but the Rio de Janeiro city government fears it will push Galeão International Airport into obscurity

Galeão International Airport. Photo: Maarten Zeehandelaar/Shutterstock
Galeão International Airport. Photo: Maarten Zeehandelaar/Shutterstock

Among the most picturesque flights in the world is the trip from Brazil’s largest city to its second-largest. Departing from São Paulo-Congonhas airport, the aircraft soars over a seemingly endless jungle of skyscrapers; less than an hour later, the flight descends into Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay, careening past one of the world’s most topographically improbable cities, before banking and landing right on the edge of downtown Rio. After disembarking and negotiating one’s way through the Santos Dumont airport concourse, on a clear day visitors are greeted with a humbling glance at Christ the Redeemer, seated upon his perch atop...

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