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Tancredo Neves/Confins International Airport , popularly known as Confins International Airport, is located Belo Horizontemarker downtown. The name honors the memory of former President Tancredo Neves. It is currently the largest and busiest airport in the state of Minas Geraismarker. It is deemed to be one of the finest and best equipped in Latin America. It used to be under-utilized and was among Brazilmarker's least used airports because Belo Horizonte also has an airport closer to downtown, Belo Horizonte/Pampulha - Carlos Drummond de Andrade Airportmarker. Since 2005 however, most of the flights to and from Pampulha were transferred to Confins International Airport.

In 2008, the airport handled 5,189,528 passengers and 59,544 aircraft movements, making it the 8th busiest airport in Brazil in terms of passengers.

Its cargo facilities have a capacity of handling 18.000 tonnes (39.682.000 lb) and the warehouse has 6.400 m² (68.889 ft²).

History

The airport was built by Infraero in the early 1980s at a cost of $1.2 billion in Brazilian currency. It was inaugurated in 1984. It was built to lessen congestion at Pampulha Airport, which was operating at 120% of its capacity of 1.3 million passengers per year.

It was expected that by 1990, passenger movement at Confins would be nearly 2 million passengers per year. However, it only surpassed the 1 million passenger mark 22 years later. Its maximum operational capacity is 5 million passengers per year.

Since its inauguration, despite plans to help lessen congestion at urban Pampulha airport, just a fraction of the capacity of Confins has been used. This is in part due to its distance from downtown and, until recently, the lack of satisfactory transportation alternatives to pricey (about $40 USD) taxi fares, leading people to continue to use the more central but very crowded Pampulha.

However, by March 2005 the government had transferred 130 flights from Pampulha Airport to Tancredo Neves International Airport, thus increasing annual passenger flow from 350,000 to around 3.0 million in 2005. This was extremely necessary, since Pampulha had been operating at 200% of its maximum capacity, while Confins was known as Infraero's most inefficient and least-used airport.

The airport is used primarely as a domestic airfield, but some international flights are operated either one-stop or nonstop out of the airport.

TAM Brazilian Airlines offers one-stop international service to and from Buenos Airesmarker, Miamimarker and Parismarker (the last two with a change of aircraft in Rio de Janeiromarker and São Paulomarker, respectively).

TAP Air Portugal started offering nonstop service between Lisbonmarker and Belo Horizontemarker on February 11 2008. Service is five times a week with Airbus A330 aircraft. This flight enables 1-connection services between Belo Horizonte and 42 European destinations through Lisbon. In August 21 of the same year Copa Airlines started operations to Panama Citymarker using Boeing 737-700s (also five times a week) and, in November 5, American Airlines, inaugurated four times a week, nonstop operations to Miami with Boeing 767-300 equipment.

Projects

Many recent projects have been carried out, including improvement of the highway that links the city center to the airport (MG-10 highway) as part of a larger project called Linha Verde (Green Line), which seeks to reduce the time needed to reach the airport. The Green Line has been mostly completed. Another project, called the "industrial-airport", will tax exempt industries interested in settling their business near the airport, transforming its surroundings.

Moreover, comfortable and frequent shuttle buses now link downtown Belo Horizonte and the airport. Their fares range from R$6.75 for the conventional bus to R$15.50 (about $USD 8.00 in April, 2007) for the air-conditioned Executive Shuttle. Tickets are available at booths in the arrivals area.

Infraero has plans to increase the number of check-in positions at the airport from 33 to 43 soon and ultimately have 60 check-in positions. There is a project to extend the runway from 3000m to 3660m. At 3000m the current runway may require a weight restriction in take-offs of very long flights. Infraero has further expansion studies with the removal of the current passenger pick-up and drop-off lanes. That space would be used for an enlarged lobby. A new outer lane would be built in part of the current parking lot and parking spaces would be stacked on a three-deck garage. A remote parking lot is currently under construction.

Transportation

It is regularly served by buses, taxis and shuttles. Transfer at Belo Horizonte's subway, when using buses, is possible.

Airlines and destinations

See also



References



External links




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