Flights to Rio de Janeiro Airport

Airplane landing at the city airport Santos Dumont

Flights to Rio de Janeiro arrive daily from major cities all over the world. Rio's Galeão International Airport is also known as "Tom Jobim" International Airport, as it was renamed in honor of the famous Bossa Nova songwriter. GIG is the international code for the airport, and you can enter it into airline booking tool widgets when searching for cheap or discount flights to Rio de Janeiro.

The Tom Jobim Airport International Airport is in need of improvement and modernization if it expects to handle the increased flights to Rio de Janeiro that are expected to occur as a result of the 2014 World Cup, the 2016 Rio Olympics, and ever increasing tourism. In October 2009, the state-owned operator of Brazilian airports announced plans to invest $US 660 million to prepare the international airport for these events.

The airplane in the photo at top of the page is landing at Santos Dumont (code SDU), which is Rio's city airport for domestic flights. That runway may be too short for international flights to land! If you are visiting another part of Brazil and fly into Rio on a domestic flight, then you will more than likely arrive at Santos Dumont. As Santos Dumont Airport is close to Rio's beaches and the city center, domestic air travelers prefer to use this airport whenever possible.

To learn about the best way to get to your hotel or vacation rental apartment from the airport, please visit our Airport Transfer page.

Many of the international flights into Rio de Janeiro connect through Sao Paulo. As Rio grows in popularity as both a tourist and business travel destination, more airlines are offering direct flights and discount tickets from cities in Europe and North America. With the strengthening Brazilian currency (the Real), more Brazilians are now traveling abroad. This also creates competition and demand for cheap air fares.

Several US airlines offer direct discount airfares and flights to Rio from New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. Continental flies direct from Houston, and Delta has a direct overnight flight from Atlanta. In late 2008, British Airways started direct flights to Rio de Janeiro from London. In October 2009, US Airways began direct flights to Rio from Charlotte, NC.

The flights that route to Rio through Sao Paulo add another 2-3 hours to your trip. Multiple connections can be tiring and the risk of travel delays and missed flights increases with each connection. Therefore, we recommend to fly directly to Rio whenever possible, even if it costs a bit more.

The Brazilian airline TAM has replaced Varig as Brazil's main international airline. They offer direct service to Rio from New York, Miami, London, Madrid, and Buenos Aires. TAM's cheap airfares to Rio from the USA are often less than other airlines, so if you can stand 2-3 connections, you can usually save $150-$200 per ticket. Note that some of the internet airfare websites may not book TAM airlines, and you may have to use a travel agent.

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