Last updated: 05:16 PM ET, Mon August 29 2016

Olympics Help Rio Set Airport Passenger Traffic Record

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | August 29, 2016

Olympics Help Rio Set Airport Passenger Traffic Record

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

A $600 million effort to improve Rio de Janeiro’s Rio Galeão-Tom Jobim International Airport ahead of the Olympics appears to have paid off.

On Aug. 22, the day after the Closing Ceremonies of the Rio Summer Games, the airport processed a record 85,000 passengers, according to

That’s more than two-and-a-half times its normal passenger load of about 33,424 passengers a day, or 12.2 million per year. It’s impressive considering not only the normal workload but that athletes and coaches and officials and fans and tourists arriving to watch the Olympics kind of staggered in over a week leading up to the Aug. 5 start of the Games.

But everybody wanted to get out at the same time on Monday following the Closing Ceremonies.

READ MORE: Rio's Hotel Rooms Could Be Very Cheap after the Olympics

Of those 85,000, 7,500 were part of the Olympic delegations and carrying approximately 28,000 pieces of total baggage. Airport officials told organizers to spread the word that those flying internationally should have planned to arrive six hours before their flight, and it appeared many did.

What helped also was not only adding extra employees for the day, but setting up satellite check-in counters at the Olympic Village. Not only were the athletes about to check in for flights, but to check their bags and have them transported to the airport via the local Rio organizing committee. This allowed Olympic delegations to proceed straight to security.

The half-billion dollar investment in the airport appears to have paid off with a smooth arrival and exit process.

According to Wired, Changi Airport Group – which runs Singapore’s widely acclaimed Changi Airport – took over management of Rio’s airport and made improvements that include 100 new shops, more parking, and 43,000 square feet in additional lounge space.

Visitors also could make use of a free high-capacity wireless network.


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Discover Club Med All-Inclusive Vacations

Hotels & Resorts