South African firm instrumental in Brazil’s airport upgrade

21 May 2014

Brazil marked the completion of one of its biggest infrastructure projects ahead of the 2014 Fifa World Cup on Tuesday.

The newly inaugurated terminal 3 at Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport, delivered on time and within budget by a consortium that includes Airports Company South Africa, has been described as one of the success stories of Brazil’s World Cup preparations.

The majority of football fans arriving in Brazil for the World Cup will pass through the terminal, which will will eventually handle all international flights to Latin America’s biggest city.

“After a year and nine months of construction, we are excited about the on-time completion of phase 1,” Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) chief executive Bongani Maseko said on Tuesday following the official opening by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

“The readiness of the gateway to Brazil is assured,” Maseko said. “This new terminal follows international standards, and will become a reference point for airport infrastructure in Brazil. Acsa’s commitment to the concession, through its provision of technical skills and expertise in operational efficiencies, will come to fruition as Brazil’s busiest airport increases passenger capacity by 12-million a year, in addition to the current 30-million handled by the three existing terminals.”

The new Terminal 3 was modelled on the modern structure of Asian and European airports, with two buildings and five levels. Dedicated exclusively to international flights, it features technologies and equipment that are on par with the best airports in the world, with two additional aprons that can accommodate 34 aircraft.

Gustavo Figueiredo, chief operations officer of Terminal 3, told news agency Bloomberg that the terminal – built on sustainable engineering lines and including such features as water recycling and windows with heat filters – was finished on time and within the US$1.3-billion budget. “Operationally, it’s been a success from day one,” Figueiredo told Bloomberg.

Acsa, through a consortium including Brazilian national airport authority Infraero and Brazilian company Invepar, won the contract for the expansion, maintenance and management of the airport in 2012, following its successful development of South Africa’s major airports ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Acsa is also part of the consortium, led by Indian conglomerate GVK, that won the contract for the upgrade and management of Mumbai International Airport. In February, the consortium opened Mumbai International’s new Terminal 2, increasing the airport’s annual capacity to 40-million passengers per annum with a retail footprint of 200 000 square feet.

As with Guarulhos International, the new Terminal 2 was also built to be highly energy- and water efficient, with a design that cuts overall energy consumption by up to 23%.

And in April, Acsa signed a memorandum of understanding with Ghana Airports Company Limited to provide advisory and technical consultancy services on all airport-related matters in Ghana.

“Our involvement in projects of this scale and magnitude, while driven by the strategic desire to connect markets, has enabled the company to continue to provide world-class expertise for airport infrastructure development,” Maseko said.

The opening of the new terminal at Guarulhos International demonstrated “a well-founded belief in the depth, wealth of experience and expert skills that Airports Company South Africa has accumulated over the 20 years of its existence”.

SAinfo reporter and