Rio de Janeiro Airports

Rio de Janeiro Airports

Rio de Janeiro has two airports – Santos Dumont airport (also known as SDU) and Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International airport (GIG).

Together they handle more than 22 million passengers every year.

GIG airport is the main and largest airport in Rio de Janeiro. It’s served by both local and international airlines, some of which are: Aerolíneas Argentinas, Air France, American Airlines, Azul, British Airways, Lufthansa, United Airlines etc.
Most of the passengers come from Argentina, United States, France, Chile and the UK.

Santos Dumont airport (SDU) is located on Guanabara Bay, just two kilometers from the city centre. It mostly serves domestic and budget flights. It’s served by these airlines: Avianca, Azul, GOL, LATAM and Passaredo.

Read on and check out everything you need to know about Rio airports.

Airports in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro International Airport – Galeão (GIG) is the largest airport in Rio de Janeiro which serves over 16 million passengers every year. It handles both international and domestic flights. Some of the airlines that operate here are Lufthansa, American Airlines, AirFrance etc.

The airport is located 20 kilometers from the center of Rio de Janeiro. It’s well connected – there are buses, taxis and other transportation services available, especially if you want to go from the airport to the city centre (Centro).

Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) is the second airport serving Rio, but smaller in comparison to GIG. It has 2 terminals (Terminal 1 doesn’t handle any flights) and it serves about 9 million passengers every year.

With just 2 kilometers away from the centre, it’s the closest airport to Centro. Also, SDU handles mostly domestic flights.

If you want to get to Centro, it’ll be a 5 – 10 minute ride either by car, train, taxi or transfer.

How to get from Rio airports to Rio de Janeiro city center

Both airports are close to the Centro, but the closest one is Dumont Airport. There’s a variety of transportation options for you to choose from. 

Check out the table below for more information about transportation at these airports.

Rio de Janeiro International Airport – Galeão (GIG)Santos Dumont airport (SDU)
Public bus
Airport shuttle


  • If you want to go to the centre by metro, you can use BRT (bus rapid transit system) from the airport (Express TransCarioca line to the Vincente de Carvalho metro station).

    When you arrive at the metro station, take the L2 metro and get off at the Presidente Vargas station. It may not be the quickest, but it’s the cheapest option.

Which Rio de Janeiro airport is the best?

Well, it depends on your requirements and where your accommodation is located. Find out more below.

When travelling to Rio de Janeiro center

For most people it’s important to get to the Centro because that’s where the most popular sightseeing attractions are located (e.g. Christ the Redeemer). If you’re one of those, then Santos Dumont is a great option – it takes just ten minutes to get to the center, and there are lots of transportation options. 

When travelling to Rio de Janeiro on a budget

If you don’t want to break the bank on your stay in Brasil, Santos Dumont is great because it mostly offers budget flights to other parts of the country and some international locations. 

Some of the most popular flights are to São Paulo-Guarulhos, São Paulo-Congonhas and Brasília.

Most frequent airlines are Azul Brazilian Airlines, Gol Transportes Aéreos and LATAM.

Travelling between Rio airports

You can get from one airport to another with various means of transport.
The quickest way from Rio De Janeiro Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) to Rio De Janeiro-Galeão Airport (GIG) is by car or shuttle – it takes about 15 minutes.

If you’re looking for cheaper transportation, take the bus (Line 2101). Line 2101 departs every 20 minutes from Avenida Franklin Roosevelt próximo ao 126 and arrives at Avenida Vinte De Janeiro próximo ao 290. It takes about an hour to get to GIG.

Travelling from Rio de Janeiro airports to other cities

Currently, there are no buses for travelling from Rio de Janeiro airports to other cities. But, you can travel from Rio de Janeiro to other cities by bus.

Here are some of the most popular routes.

Rio de Janeiro – SalvadorRio de Janeiro – Sao PauloRio de Janeiro – Itajai

Rio de Janeiro Airports Map

Rio de Janeiro Airports FAQs

Are there hotels near Rio de Janeiro airports?

Yes, there’s a hotel located at the Rio De Janeiro-Galeão Airport – Rio Aeroporto hotel. It’s located on the third floor of Terminal 1 and has a restaurant, sauna, gym, and free WiFi.  Just 500 m from the Galeão airport there’s also the three-star Linx Hotel

There are a few other hotels in the vicinity, including: Mont Blanc Apart Hotel, Center Hotel, Hotel Caracas Rio, Hotel Barão de Tefé, etc.
Near the Santos Dumont airport you can find two hotels: Ibis Santos Dumont Airport (200 meters from the terminal) and Novotel Santos Dumont which is located some 400 meters from the airport.

Is there free WiFi at Rio de Janeiro airports?

Yes, there is free WiFi service available at both airports.

Are there money exchange and luggage storage services at Rio de Janeiro airports?

Currency exchange is available at both Rio de Janeiro airports, along with ATMs.
Galeão airport has a luggage service on the ground floor of Terminal 2. 
Luggage storage is also available at Santos Dumont, on the first floor of Terminal 2. 

How early to arrive when departing from Rio de Janeiro airports?

It is recommended to arrive at Rio de Janeiro airports at least two hours before flight departure for domestic flights, and at least three hours before flights for international flights.

How to get from one Rio de Janeiro airport to another?

There are different transportation options for getting from one airport to another. You can either book a taxi or transfer, or go by bus.