Routes Reconnected: RIOgaleão is designing for a sunnier future as domestic demand booms
“Rio de Janeiro is the second-biggest market in Brazil and RIOgaleão plays an essential role in the country’s passenger and cargo industry,” Ana Paula Lopes, the airport’s Head of Airline Marketing, told us.
Key in this is domestic travel, with RIOgaleão having almost 9.2 million domestic passengers in 2019, airport data shows.
“Our demand rebound is mainly from domestic VFR traffic,” Lopes said. “But with the Brazilian summer around the corner, we are already seeing a boom of holiday-motivated domestic bookings.”
Like in many countries, Lopes said that the surge in domestic travel is partly from those who would normally travel overseas, and have instead decided on staycations.
This has resulted in new destinations being introduced from RIOgaleão, namely Belem, Cuiabá, Goiania, and Porto Seguro by Gol, the airport confirms.
As border restrictions begin to lift around the world and vaccinations are given, Lopes expects both more Brazilians to visit Rio and to resume their international travel.
And inbound and outbound leisure traffic will be essential in attracting new international operators, Lopes believes.
Rio is strong on business demand too
But Rio de Janeiro is not just leisure. “Despite the ‘Marvellous City’ tag, Rio is also home to the headquarters of hundreds of national and multinational businesses, generating important flows of corporate traffic, especially in the O&G, pharma, consumer goods, and consulting segments.”
“We have watched in the past years that several Rio de Janeiro businesses flying their executives to São Paulo just to get in a cheaper flight or a superior cabin product.”
Mexico and Canada are just two examples of these longstanding unserved markets. Mexico City was last served in 2014-2015 by Aeromexico, while Toronto was served by Air Canada between 2014-2016.
As ASM’s MD, David Stroud, said earlier this week, the airport-airline relationship will bond more closely.
This is RIOgaleão’s view too. “This pandemic has changed the way airlines and airports cooperate,” Lopes said. “And we are thrilled to sit and work together with all designing a sunnier future.”