Galeão Airport is the only international airport in Rio de Janeiro. The airport shares space with the Brazilian Air Force.
Rio International Airport is located in the north part of the city; 20 km (11 miles) from downtown, more exactly on Ilha do Governador. The main access is by highway Linha Vermelha, which usually gets bottled up at rush time. So if you have a flight scheduled in the morning or late afternoon, you should leave early to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
By 1970, the airport had grown enough to be the primary domestic and international hub. Its administration was taken over in the same year by the government agency, Infraero. In 1977, a new terminal opened for international flights. This terminal is still in existence and is known as Passenger Terminal 1. The Concorde first landed here in 1976 flying from Paris. Its last flight was in 1982. A second terminal was opened in 1999 and today the airport can handle upwards of 7.5 million visitors annually.
In preparation for the 2014 World Soccer Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics the airport is undergoing a major upgrade. Both terminals will be renovated and additional parking added.
Just about all the major international airlines use Galeão as a major destination including Air France, British Airways, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Iberia Airlines and Lufthansa. There are also several domestic airlines that use Galeão as a destination including Webjet, Gol Airlines and Tam Airlines.
How to Get There
The best options are to get a Taxi or Bus “frescão” (premium line 2018) from Bus Company Real with routes from South Zone (Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon), Barra da Tijuca and domestic airport Santos Dumont, approximately every hour. Check the times and intervals on Real Auto Onibus more accurately when you’re in town because there may be changes. The Real premium bus are with air conditioner and leaves daily Alvorada bus terminal in Barra from 5:30am – 10:30pm to International Airport (passing by Santos Dumont Domestic Airport and the Rio Central Bus Station) and from 5:30am - 11:00pm leaves daily the International Airport to the Alvorada bus terminal in Barra. The fare of these buses is around R$ 9 and they are pretty comfortable, with reclining seats and some of them have internet connection.
The fastest option (but more expensive) is to use taxis from the cooperatives. Some also charge for luggage. There are also options for transfers from hotels in the city.