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Airlines & Air Travel in Brazil


Depending on the city, flight time from Europe to São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro is just over 12 hours and a little over nine hours to Natal, Recife or Salvador.


Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa,Swiss, Tam, Tap and Varig all offer scheduled services between Europe and Brazil. This means that travellers have a daily choice of airlines linking the two continents.

Airlines & Air Travel in Brazil


From the UK, the most direct flights to Brazil are those operated by British Airways and Varig. Both offer daily services to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro from London Heathrow.


Anyone wishing to visit Brazil at Christmas and the New Year or Carnival should make the reservations for flights well in advance, especially if wishing to fly economy.


Given the size of the country, the fastest and most effective way of getting around Brazil is by air. The main national carriers, all of which have an extensive route network, are Tam, Varig and Vasp. There are also a number of low-cost carriers such as Gol, Fly and Ocean Air. If you are going to travel extensively around Brazil, you should consider buying an airpass (see Airpass) prior to arriving in the country.


Like the US, the Brazilian carriers use certain airports as major hubs for serving regions of the country. Visitors are often surprised that in the south east, São Paulo (GRU), rather than Rio de Janeiro (GIG), is the main hub. Other hubs include Porto Alegre (POA) and Curitiba (CWB) in the south; Brasília (BSB) in the central west; and Salvador (SSA), Recife (REC) and Fortaleza (FOR) in the north east.


As many visitors plan their trip to Brazil around Rio de Janeiro, some of the most popular internal flight times are: Rio to Belo Horizonte, 50m; Rio to Brasília, 1h 30m; Rio to Campo Grande, 3h 30m; Rio to Curitiba, 1h 30m; Rio to Fortaleza, 4h 25m; Rio to Foz do Iguaçu, 3h; Rio to Manaus, 5h; Rio to Natal, 3h; Rio to Porto Alegre, 2h; Rio to Recife, 2h 45m; Rio to Salvador, 2h; and Rio to São Paulo, 55m.


It is also worth remembering that most scheduled flights from Europe fly first to São Paulo and then on to Rio de Janeiro. The return flights are the reverse so visitors looking to fly on to other cities in Brazil or return from them, should look for connecting flights with São Paulo.