Belo Horizonte Pampulha Airport (PLU) in Brazil, which has not been available to airliners with more than 50 seats for more than a decade, is to be served by larger jets again.
Capacity constraints were originally introduced in 2005 due to overcrowding, but the federal government has now authorised airlines including Avianca Brazil, Gol Transportes Aéreos and Azul Brazilian Airlines to operate larger jets on domestic flights into Pampulh again. Slot times will be allocated as the terminal can handle a maximum of 300 outbound and 360 inbound passengers per hour, but the airfield is open 24 hours per day. The apron has space for 11 airliners, of which four can be Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 size. It is expected that Gol will use 737-700s on services to PLU, while Azul will deploy Embraer 190s, Avianca Brazil will fly A318s and LATAM Brazil, which will also fly to the airport, will use A319s.
It is expected that Avianca Brazil will use 22% of a total of 574 weekly operations available, while Gol and Azul will each control 20% of the flights. Surveys conducted by the national aviation authority, ANAC, indicate that the most likely routes to be flown from PLU will be to Brasília, Goiânia, Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont, São Paulo Congonhas and Vitória.
Pampulha was built in the 1930s, but a second airport – Tancredo Neves / Confins – was built to serve the city of Belo Horizonte in 1984. However, CNF is a considerable distance from downtown and most passengers preferred to continue to use PLU. The reopening of the original airport to larger aircraft will result in many domestic services being transferred.
Photo:Pampulha Airport in Brazil is to be opened to jets up to Boeing 737 and A320 size. (Wikimedia Commons /