Air Traffic and Accessibility

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.

Road connections

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 today

Located in São Gonçalo do Amarante, Natal Airport has been operating since May 31, 2014. It was the first airport in Brazil to be fully managed by the private sector – the Inframérica Consortium. This meant that it was the first to submit an infrastructure plan and was built from scratch at record speed. It even started operating seven months ahead of schedule.

Runway and boarding infrastructure:

  • 3,000m x 60m runway ready to receive the Airbus A380
  • linear terminal with two levels; 40,000 m² of built area in the first phase of implementation (2014)
  • arrivals: 6 baggage carrousels for domestic and international traffic
  • 45 check-in counters and over 10 self-service kiosks for passenger boarding
  • 6 boarding jet bridges capable of working with 8 aircraft simultaneously
  • 10 remote boarding positions across a 210,000 m² airport apron

The future expansion

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.

Planned infrastructure:

  • 40 jet bridges
  • airplane yard of up to 500,000 m²
  • runway (landing and take-off) 2 x 3,000 m x 60 m
  • 42 check-in points
  • up to 30 ATM check-in points
  • 40 million passengers
  • cargo terminal 500,000 m²

Airstrip near Eco Estrela

There is a landing strip owned by Farias Group, suitable for small jets (such as the Embraer Phenom 300) near the “Eco Estrela” project site. The runway is about 1,200 m long and 9 m wide (with an additional 6 m on either side and 13 m of safe area).There is a landing strip owned by Farias Group, suitable for small jets (such as the Embraer Phenom 300) near the “Eco Estrela” project site. The runway is about 1,200 m long and 9 m wide (with an additional 6 m on either side and 13 m of safe area).
Use of the site is currently suspended as it undergoes modernisation. The airstrip will be prolonged to 1,400 m to make it suitable for larger jets, too. To make the airport more functional and use the space available, the strip will also be broadened.
Once the modernisation is completed, the airstrip will be adapted to the latest requirements of Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil).