São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport ready for Olympic Games

July 13, 2016
Life-cycle services , Airports

Vanderlande’s site-based operations and maintenance (O&M) team at Terminal 3 of São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) is eagerly anticipating the start of the 2016 Olympics. Brazil’s busiest airport handled nearly 40 million passengers in 2014, and has plans to take that number up to 60 million by 2022.

Vanderlande delivered the airport’s baggage handling system for Terminal 3 in 2014, in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Since March of that year, the O&M team has been responsible for operational support, preventive and corrective maintenance, and repairs and spare parts management of the baggage handling system (BHS).

Over the past six months, the team has been working closely with the airport to prepare the site for the extensive number of visitors that will make use of São Paulo-Guarulhos for their transfer or final destination to the Olympic Games. The service team has been preparing for the significant baggage volumes with the following initiatives:

  • specialist on-site support for BHS operations
  • on-site support for HBS engineers
  • double inspection routes for maintenance tasks
  • shared experiences network with other O&M teams
  • ‘run at rate’ BHS testing to ensure additional capacity can be handled by the system
  • skill reviews across all shifts to ensure staff are fully trained
  • continuous improvement programmes (run for the last 12 months).


More than 10,000 athletes will compete in the first ever Olympic Games to be hosted in South America, which lasts from 5 to 21 August. The Paralympic Games will take place from 7 to 18 September. The quest for Olympic glory will take place at 32 venues across Brazil, including Rio de Janeiro, plus five football co-host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus, Salvador and São Paulo.

Brazil is expected to welcome 14,850 competitors from 206 nations, plus an additional 9.3 million visitors. São Paulo-Guarulhos will handle around 40% of all incoming and transfer flights. In addition, due to the high volumes of people leaving after the Olympics and arriving for the Paralympics, the amount of baggage will significantly increase. This means that a special out-of-gauge handling arrangement had to be factored in.

Large events, such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup, mean that airports must contend with high and unpredictable peaks in passenger numbers during very short periods. It is therefore important that both baggage handling systems and staff are prepared to contribute to the success of such occasions, benefitting both the airport and host nation.

Terminal 3 de Guarulhos