The nearest international airport to Eco Estrela Baia Formosa is Natal (99 km by highway). Opened in June 2014, it has high standards and capacity for up to 6.2 million passengers per year. Its proximity to Europe and Africa make it the shortest and most fuel-efficient destination for aeroplanes crossing the Atlantic. Rio Grande do Norte’s government has offered incentives to encourage airlines to choose Natal (it reduced the fuel tax to 12% for scheduled domestic flights, 9% for international flights and abolished it for charter flights in 2015). Natal airport is currently privately owned and operated by Inframerica, which also operates Brasilia International Airport and is one of the largest private airport operators worldwide. More and more airlines are flying to Brazil. For instance, in August 2018, Norwegian Air received the go-ahead to operate flights in and out of Brazil.
The Eco Estrela project site is easily accessible by car. The site can be reached from both the Natal and João Pessoa airports via the modern and comfortable 101 Federal Highway. Natal is within a one-hour drive (in favourable traffic conditions; about 99 km). João Pessoa International Airport can be reached in 60–70 minutes (in favourable traffic conditions; about 106 km).
Natal airport will undergo significant modernisation to increase passenger capacity.
The airport currently receives around 2.6 million passengers per year. This is expected to rise to 6.2 million in 2024 and 11 million in 2038, with investments of close to R$ 560 million.
In the second phase, its capacity will be increased to 11 million passengers per year – the expected demand in 2038. Total investment over the 28-year concession period will amount to R$ 650 million.