THROWBACK :: Plane spotting at GRU

GRU Airport a.k.a. São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport is the premier airport in Brazil. It handles more traffic, passengers and cargoes than any other airport in the country. In 2012, I flew from São Paulo–Guarulhos International (GRU) to Dubai (DXB) aboard Emirates. There was an area in the terminal wherein you can have a wonderful view of the parked airplanes even if you haven’t checked-in yet.

As my flight is still hours away, I spent my entire afternoon scouring the shops and of course, the thing that I love the most – plane spotting. So for my throwback today, here are some of the snapshots I took with my camera.


Gol Transportes Aéreos, with its orange logo is very much well represented at Sao Paulo-Guarolhos Airport. It connects Sao Paulo to several domestic and international routes. Also visible in the photo are two aircrafts of Avianca  which flies to Lima and Bogota. The Brazilian arm of Avianca also operates various domestic routes. In the foreground is the LAN aircraft with its large star livery. It is the national airline of Chile and has regular flights to Santiago. Lately, LAN brought the Brazilian airline TAM to form the LATAM group.


As I panned my camera to my right, I took a shot the entirety of the LAN Chile plane together with that of TAP Portugal, Emirates and Lufthansa. TAP Portugal connects Sao Paulo to the cities of Lisbon and Porto. Emirates meanwhile connects Sao Paulo to Dubai but really a small portion of its passengers are actually heading for Dubai. Most of my fellow passengers are heading somewhere else mainly in mainland China and the Far East. Meanwhile, Lufthansa flies between Sao Paulo and the German cities of Frankfurt and Munich.


The area of GRU Airport where one can do a perfect plane spotting is located on the main building which connects the two wing terminals. In this photo, one can see on the left a South African Airways plane which will soon head to Johannesburg. Joining it are the planes from the low cost Gol Transportes Aéreos. Gol has several flights to various international and domestic routes.

Also visible in the photo at the center and right side are the planes of TAM Airlines – the de facto flag carrier of Brazil. It has the most extensive network of domestic and international routes as far as Toronto and Frankfurt.

At the foreground is a plane of the VARIG Brazil Airlines. VARIG (Viação Aérea RIo-Grandense) is an interesting story. It was once the largest airline and the flag carrier of Brazil. Its demise came in 2006 when the management could no longer pay its billions of debts. It was one of the biggest corporate failures in Brazil, if not in South America, with thousands jobs lost and with a much-loved brand going down the drain. The new VARIG however is somewhat a reincarnation of the old VARIG and is fully integrated with Gol.

Seeing a VARIG plane actually aroused my curiosity as I thought the brand was completely dissolved in 2006 when it went bust. I think that Gol and Brazilians in general don’t want to see the brand completely disappear. It somehow reminds them of its glory days when VARIG was the pride of Brazil.




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