Recife/Guararapes-Gilberto Freyre International Airport is the airport serving Recife, Brazil. The name Guararapes is a reference to the Guararapes Battle, fought in the surrounding area. Since 27 December 2001 the airport is also named after Gilberto de Almeida Freyre (1900 1987), a renowned and Recife-born sociologist.
In 2011 the airport was ranked 7th in terms of cargo handled in Brazil, placing it amongst the busiest airports in the country. It is operated by Infraero.
Some of its facilities are shared with the Recife Air Force Base of the Brazilian Air Force.
Originally called Ibura Airport, the airport had its name changed to Guararapes Airport in 1948. The facility has its origins in the time of World War II when an airport was built to replace the earlier airfield Parque do Encanta Mo a. With the end of the War, the facility acquired a strategic importance as technical and refueling stop in the route from South America to Europe.
On 18 January 1958 a new passenger terminal, replacing the original facility, was inaugurated. During this time, runway 14/32 was extended from 1,800m to 2,010m, and runway 18/36 was extended from 1,800m to 2,400m.
In 1979 an agreement with Infraero was made in order to further develop the airport complex. The passenger terminal underwent its first major renovation in 1982 and another enlargement in 1990.
In 2004 a brand new passenger terminal was built in which to a transportation facility was added a shopping mall, thus generating more traffic and revenue. Furthermore, a new parking facility was opened in 2002 and capacity of the airport was raised from 1.5 to 5 million passengers/year.
On 31 August 2009 Infraero unveiled a BRL8.75 million (USD4.6 million; EUR3.2 million) investiment plan to up-grade Guararapes International Airport focusing on the preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup which will be held in Brazil, Recife being one of the venue cities. The investment was used on the conclusion of the passenger terminal renovation with installation of further 8 jetways. The work was completed on 1 July 2011 and the airport is now considered ready for the FIFA Cup.
The Brazilian Integrated Air Traffic Control and Air Defense Center section 3 (Cindacta III) is located in the vicinity of the airport.
Airlines and destinations
Accidents and incidents
- 1 November 1961: a Panair do Brasil Douglas DC-7C registration PP-PDO flying from Sal to Recife, during its final approach at Recife, struck an 84m hill 2.7 km from the runway and broke-up. The aircraft was doing a night approach too low and outside the regular traffic pattern. The aircraft was doing a night approach too low and outside the regular traffic pattern. Forty-five passengers and crew out of the 88 persons aboard died.
- 28 July 1968: a United States Air Force Douglas C-124C Globemaster II registration 51-5178 flying from Paramaribo-Zanderij to Recife, while on approach to land at Recife, flew into a 1890 feet high hill 80 km away from Recife. The 10 occupants died.
- 14 March 1970: a Paraense Fairchild Hiller FH-227B registration PP-BUF flying from Recife to Bel m-Val de C es, while on final approach to land at Bel m, crashed into Guajar Bay. Of the 40 passengers and crew, 2 survived.
- 14 December 1987: a Brazilian Air Force Lockheed C-130H Hercules registration FAB-2468, flying from Recife to Fernando de Noronha, crashed into the sea shortly before landing. All 29 crew and passengers died.
- 20 September 1990: an Embraer EMB110P1 Bandeirante registration PT-FAW belonging to the Government of Pernambuco, flying from Fernando de Noronha to Recife, crashed into the sea shortly after take-off. All 12 crew and passengers died.
- 11 November 1991: a Nordeste Embraer EMB110P1 Bandeirante registration PT-SCU, flying from Recife to Salvador da Bahia, during on initial climb had an engine failure followed by fire. The aircraft crashed on populated area. All 15 occupants of the aircraft and 2 persons on the ground died.
- 15 September 2001: a TAM Airlines Fokker 100 registration PT-MRN operating the charter flight 9755, flying from Recife to Campinas-Viracopos, following an uncontrolled engine failure en route to Campinas had 3 cabin windows shattered by fragments of the engine and made an emergency landing at Belo Horizonte-Confins. One passenger was sucked out partly and held by another passenger until the aircraft landed. The passenger did not survive though.
- 13 July 2011: a Noar Linhas A reas Let L-410 Turbolet registration PR-NOB operating flight 4896 from Recife to Natal crashed shortly after take-off from Recife. All 16 occupants were killed.
The airport is located from downtown Recife, from Boa Viagem Beach, and from Suape port.
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