How the new GAT at SBGR in Sao Paulo impacts business aviation

A new general aviation terminal recently opened at São Paulo
Guarulhos International Airport (SBGR). This terminal is owned and
operated by GAT GRU, a consortium that was awarded by the SBGR
airport authorities.

Since the opening, there has been confusion among operators on
whether they are required to use the GAT, if they still need a
ground handler, and how pricing of the GAT is charged.

Universal Aviation Brazil is working closely with SBGR officials
and GAT GRU management in order to enhance the transparency of the
process. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know.

 1. New GAT opened Oct. 21, 2019

Effective October, 21, 2019 all international GA operations at
SBGR will be through the new GAT. Although this adds convenience to
the traveler, there are concerns that need to be taken into account
when traveling to this location.

The GAT is restricted to one operation at a time. Although they
don’t conflict very often, be aware that crew and passengers will
need to wait in the aircraft until it gets to their turn.

2. Handlers still required

All GA operations to SBGR still require a handling agent. Crew
and pax are only allowed inside the aircraft ground perimeter.
Universal Aviation Brazil is still the liaison providing all pre
arrival coordination in order to guarantee the best ground
experience and to also transport passengers and crew from the
aircraft to the GAT. Additionally, Universal Aviation Brazil will
also ensure operators understand upfront all fees associated with
using the various amenities within the GAT.

3. Be prepared for more thorough inspections

The authorities will be completely dedicated to the crew and
passengers arriving and departing. For this reason, inspections
will be more complete than they were when the operation was in the
commercial aviation terminal.

The preparation for a trip will also be more detailed. While in
the past just a Gendec would work, now the handler will need to
send the crew and pax manifest to the customs authorities within 24
hours along with any updates.

4. What if I have schedule changes?

For domestic flights, there shouldn’t be a problem, but for
international arrivals or departures, make sure to advise your
handler of any schedule changes with more than four hours of
advance so there can be time enough to inform the CIQ

Changes informed within four hours are subject to the officer

5. What if I have pets onboard?

There is only one quarantine agent on the whole airport per
shift, so you may expect long waits until they’re able to get to
the aircraft.

6. CIQ process

Customs has committed to having a crew available to clear GA
aircraft at all times. However, Customs and Immigration officers
are not stationed at the new GAT, and therefore they will only be
present at the time of operation. For that reason, everyone (crew
and passengers) will have to disembark at the same time. Meanwhile,
one of the crew members can stay behind in order to keep the APU
running, however, the authorities will wait a maximum of 15 minutes
until they are ready to disembark and clear immigration as well.
After all crew members are cleared, they can return to the aircraft
bearing only the essentials to keep working on their aircraft. All
baggage will be stored at GAT GRU facilities until they are ready
to exit the airport.

Customs agents work both commercial and GA terminals, so their
availability has not yet been tested.  Further, if multiple
aircraft arrive to the GAT close to the same time, only one
aircraft will be cleared at a time in order of arrival, and the
passengers of the subsequent aircraft will have to await clearing

7. GAT fees and VIP lounge “extras”

What’s created significant confusion and aggravation to
operators since the opening of the GAT is a lack of transparency on
pricing and then being charged significant fees for using the VIP
lounge and services that are NOT included in the
regular required usage of the GAT. NOTE: Any use of the VIP
lounge will be charged 1700USD, regardless how “minor” the
usage may be.

  • What is included in GAT access? The airport
    fee grants the operator the ability to embark and disembark through
    the GAT.
  • What is not included? Access to the GAT
    doesn’t grant some amenities that are commonly available in most
    GATs and hangars around the world and, therefore, distracted pax,
    crew and meeting parties, may be charged a facility fee just for
    small actions.

For example, car parking, VIP lounge access, restrooms, and
baggage cart are not included in GAT access and are considered part
of the VIP lounge.

There have been multiple reports of passengers being charged a
large fee for simply entering the VIP lounge by accident, sitting
in a lounge chair, or using the restrooms within the lounge.

8. Is it mandatory to use the GAT and pay the fee?

Operators in coordination with their handler can opt to use the
terminal paying the fee or take the free process available.

When entering the GAT from the ramp, the receptionist desk is to
the right and the VIP lounge is to the left.  Veering to the left
will be deemed use of the VIP lounge. There is a bench next to the
receptionist desk that can be used for waiting free of charge.

There is a demarcated area outside designated for VIP pick up.
If a vehicle enters that delineated area, the 1700USD will be
charged. The area that is outside the VIP pickup is not far, but
note, it is not covered and will be an issue in the rain.
Furthermore, it is conceivable that security will become an issue
for passengers whose vehicles drop them off outside the VIP

Even though GRU airport and GAT GRU are making available the
“non-payment process,” we advise that this process is not
passenger and crew friendly and many operations may end up paying
the full terminal fee just by using the restroom or parking close
to the terminal.


Both frequent and non-frequent flyers will enjoy the benefits of
the new terminal, but in order to avoid “surprise” fees, it’s
best to understand the layout of the GAT and work closely with your
ground handler. Universal Aviation Brazil is working closely with
the airport and the GAT operator to increase transparency on
pricing and processes and will continue to update this article as
more information becomes available.

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How the new GAT at SBGR in Sao Paulo impacts business aviation

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Source: FS – Aviation
How the new GAT at SBGR in Sao Paulo impacts business aviation

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