Chapman Freeborn blog

Rio de Janeiro readies itself for record flight numbers

Large numbers of football fans are expected to travel to Brazil for the World Cup 2014 and Rio de Janeiro is set to be the top destination for many visitors.

The weather in Brazil’s second largest city in June is perfect for the beach, and with the exception of travelling to Manaus most flights to other host cities can be achieved in under three hours.

Rio is famed for its carnival atmosphere, so it’s no surprise that the city has the honour of hosting the tournament final on July 13. View our infographic to find out why the World Cup 2014 is set to be the biggest yet!

With many new visitors set to arrive on flights from all over the world, Chapman Freeborn’s Brazil team gives air travellers a quick introduction to Rio:

Getting there by air

The main airport serving Rio de Janeiro is Galeão International Airport. Located approximately 35 miles outside of Rio’s city centre, Galeão has undergone a number of infrastructure upgrades in preparation for the World Cup including significant renovations to its passenger terminals and parking facilities.

Galeão is served by a number of international airlines including Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, KLM and Lufthansa, as well as providers of domestic flights.

Located a short distance from the downtown area, Santos Dumont Airport is Rio’s second major airport – particularly for domestic flights to and from São Paulo. The airlines that operate out of this airport include Avianca, Azul, GOL, TAM and TRIP.

With fans from around the world basing themselves in Rio for the duration of the tournament, group air charters will be in high demand during the tournament.

Chapman Freeborn offers a selection of Brazilian-registered aircraft for group charter flights of 45 – 118 passengers.

Santos Dumont Airport is also the key airport for private jet charters and it’s common to see private aircraft lined up on the tarmac – ranging from light jets like the Embraer Phenom 300 (pictured below) up to ultra-long-range private jets like the Gulfstream G550.

Embraer Phenom 300 at Santos Dumont Airport

Where to stay

The pick of the city’s luxury hotels is the world-famous Copacabana Palace – the iconic art-deco landmark overlooking Copacabana Beach. However, top hotel rooms are going to be like gold dust during the tournament.

According to the Rio Times, the luxury rental market is also seeing a significant boom – with four-bedroom penthouses in Leblon or Ipanema currently going for around US $150,000 for the period of the tournament.

A large number of travellers are looking for alternative accommodation in Rio, including hostels and bed and breakfasts. Trip Advisor is a good starting point with reviews of 189 bed and breakfasts in the city.

Rio de Janeiro stadium redevelopment

The Estádio do Maracanã was opened in 1950 to host the last World Cup in Brazil including the final game – an honour set to be repeated in 2014. The newly reconstructed Maracanã seats 79,000 spectators, making it the largest stadium in Brazil and in South America. The stadium is located approximately five kilometres from downtown Rio.

Rio de Janeiro in 48 hours

If you’re only flying into Rio de Janeiro for a couple of days, the perfect starting point is taking in the city’s stunning beaches. The Copacabana Beach is one of the best-known beaches in the world – but the city boasts several other spots to rival it.

Luxury travellers are naturally drawn to the scenic white sands of Ipanema Beach, located by one of Rio’s most affluent neighbourhoods, while those in search of an adrenaline rush usually head for the surf meccas of Prainha and Arpoador.

No trip to Rio would be complete without a trip to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer which is considered to be one of Brazil’s top attractions. Located at over 2000 feet above sea level, the 98 feet high statue towers above the city and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Rio de Janeiro  - Christ the Redeemer

In terms of bars and restaurants, the Ipanema neighbourhood takes some beating. Popular local choices include seafood at Satyricon, fusion cuisine at Zazá Bistrô Tropical, and the famous Porcão steakhouse. The area is also home to a large number of upmarket bars and offers lively nightlife.

If you would like to find out more about chartering an aircraft, please get in touch with Chapman Freeborn’s Brazil team. Tel: +55 11 3047 1100  Email:

Photos: A Boeing 737-700 aircraft flying over Rio de Janeiro (top). Private jets like the Embraer Phenom 300 will also be in high demand to fly fans between the 12 host cities during the tournament