As the Olympic draws near and the beautiful City of Rio opens its doors to host the world, TSBR sits down with Milena Martorelli, Sustainability Manager at RIOgaleão – Tom Jobim International Airport to discuss the airport’s history, capacity, sustainable development at the ultra-modern facility and initiatives put in place to ensure a pleasant memorable “welcome and goodbye” for all.
RIOgaleão – Tom Jobim International Airport began in 1924, when the Naval Aviation School, founded in 1916, was transferred to Ponta do Galeão. In 1945, the airport became officially international. At this time, the old seaplanes were gradually replaced by larger aircraft with wheels, which needed runways on land. During the Second World War, besides serving as a busy air base for the Brazilian Air Force, the airport was also used as a landing field for international aircraft. Five years after the war, in 1950, the airport’s departures and arrivals facility was expanded, and it was subsequently replaced by the current Terminal 1, which was very modern at the time it was opened.
On January 20, 1977, Rio de Janeiro International Airport was opened. The building work, carried out by construction company Odebrecht, was a milestone in Brazil, representing one of the main technology projects in the 1970s in the country.
Designed with modern airport and flight protection facilities, the new airport was needed to handle the ever more intense air traffic on its runways. Keeping up with the technological development of commercial aircraft across the world was also fundamental.
Due to fast growth in commercial aviation in Brazil, all of this terminal’s facilities were expanded in 1992. This work, which increased the terminal’s capacity to 7 million passengers per year, coincided with the start of building work on Terminal 2. The new terminal, one of the most modern in Latin America and able to handle 8 million passengers per year, was opened on July 20, 1999, more than doubling the airport’s capacity.
RIOgaleão – Tom Jobim is now a major international airport. It has the longest runway in Brazil, and one of the most modern and best-equipped cargo logistics terminals in South America.
And the airport is continuing to grow. By 2016, its operation, maintenance and expansion activities will have been fully transferred to the RIOgaleão concession-holder, which is investing around R$2 billion in infrastructure construction work at the airport. Over the complete 25-year concession period, it will invest a total of R$5 billion in the airport’s program of improvements.
This month we shall inaugurate South Pier, a new space with more than 100 thousand square meters of area, 26 new boarding fingers, commercial space with new shops and an aircraft yard with 260 thousand square meters, corresponding to 24 soccer fields of the size of “Maracanã”. In January we inaugurated the new Parking Building with the construction of four new floors in the parking place of Terminal 2 and providing 2 thousand new parking places and eight new elevators – the complex already had three floors, totaling, today, seven floors. Also, we executed the works for connection of terminal 2 with South Pier, and opened a space of the terminal, never used before, with installation of 7 new elevators and expansion of the area dedicated to check-in.
TSBR– Expand on your operations; its features, capacity, types of traffic, airlines and routes, staff strength & assets
R: RIOgaleão operates with two tracks for landing and takeoff, with 25 domestic destinations and 24 international destinations, divided into six domestic airlines and 20 international airlines. The installed capacity of the airport is 30 million passengers. The expectation for Olympic demand is 1.5 million passengers.
Since the startup of the operation, in August 2014, we have implemented bilingual services, opened 75 new shops, installed automatic gates and safety cameras in the parking places, improved the cleaning of the terminals, toilets and diaper changing stations, and provided free Wi-Fi for 60 minutes. Among the immediate actions for serving the customer, we installed new counters in the halls of both terminals, with bilingual professionals, and launched new communication channels. For the Olympic Games we shall have about one thousand volunteers of Rio 2016 (Olympic Game organization), besides our own bilingual professionals, who shall provide support for passenger services.
TSBR- Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport gives a high importance on being a part of the community; can you expand on your engagement with the local community in relation to staff recruitment, development and welfare?
R: RIOgaleão understands that a socially responsible company, including safe environmental management practices, provides benefits not only for the company, but also helps with the development of the local community. RIOgaleão is a transforming agent and incentives good practices in the territory where we act, and the action in the communities is reinforced with projects related to education, with activities for stimulating preservation of natural and human resources.
We stimulate social environmental practices, individual and collective awareness of the respective responsibilities and full right to sustainable development. All our projects start with a diagnosis with the participation of the community (internal or external) pointing various priority development themes. These themes are developed in informal educational activities with the external public (children and juveniles, educators and residents of the surroundings) and internal public (members of RIOgaleão, service providers and concessionaires).
Currently, we have three projects under execution: School Connection (Conexão Escola) working with environmental actions and themes related to Human Rights, with theoretical and practical activities, using art and culture tools, with 28 students of the public schools resident in the community of Tubiacanga (around the airport); Presentation Cycle (Ciclo de Palestras) with debates about priority themes in the community with professionals of the thematic area, with the purpose of informing, instructing, exchanging know-how, promoting suggestions for improvement and supporting the planning of possible ways, and Language Incentive (Incentivo à Linguagem) working with actions for incentive to Portuguese and English languages using daily themes for developing vocabulary, reading and conversation, for the safety and cleaning staff of the airport.
TSBR- Subsequently in relation to your organisation’s supply chain, how would you describe to supply chain management as well as the input of local, regional suppliers and their contribution to your success thus far (highlight 2-3 companies as examples)?
R: All the concessionaires and service providers work in partnership with RIOgaleão in the program for Efficiency and Sustainability. When signing the contract with RIOgaleão, they participate in the programs and training for sustainable development of the airport contributing directly with management of solid waste, prevention and environmental monitoring, energetic efficiency actions, prevention and control of Aedes aegipty mosquito and other vectors, hygiene and food safety (food concessionaires), among other existing programs.
The hiring of labor in the surrounding community requires structuring a program for qualification and a résumé database for the residents in the surrounding communities and support of public agencies and professional qualification entities.
Various activities developed in the airport demand differentiated qualification of the professionals. However, as possible, the employing community of the airport tries to hire the residents of the region.
This movement may be observed in the works for improvement of Phase 1B of the airport where Consórcio Construtor Galeão was able to absorb a good number of residents of the surroundings during the period of the works.
The perspective for 2017 is to complete the survey with all the concessionaires and service providers of the airport, identifying the main causes of professional rotation, challenges for professional qualification, main employment areas, level of education required per function, salary ranges, age, gender, race, among other. This diagnosis shall be performed by application of questionnaires for each employer and also the perception of the member in relation to the companies and their work. This study shall be used as base for preparing new projects related to education and development.
Regarding acquisition of products, RIOgaleão prefers the products of companies located in the region and presenting compatible quality and prices.
All the companies responsible for service provision, acquired products and concessionaires installed in RIOgaleão are previously analyzed before the signature of the contract in order to check the labor documentation, origin of the material (when originated from natural resources), permits, among other.
TSBR- Kindly give us an insight into the next 5 to 10 years plan for Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport; identifying ongoing and planned projects as well expansions programs
R: RIOgaleão is a new concession. We are still in the stage of data survey, monitoring the existing infrastructure for analysis of efficiency, assessments, among other. With the progress of the studies we shall adjust our programs into an executable schedule. Meanwhile, we have defined the four main axis of the environmental area: Waste, Energy, Water and Emissions.
According to these assumptions, we have defined some projects for execution: “Waste Zero” for handling the waste generated in the airport with generation of energy; “Energetic Efficiency” for generation of solar energy; “Hydric Efficiency” with study and analysis of water consumption in the airport and feasibility for capturing natural resources (rain water); and “Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction” with the objective of contributing with reduction of greenhouse gas using alternative generating technologies. The predicted conclusion of the implementation and startup of all these projects is from the end of 2017 to early 2018.
TSBR- As an organization with multiple stakeholders, explain how they are able to communicate the company’s vision and balance the commercial sustainability with social sustainability.
R: The institutional documents are under preparation. It was necessary to know and monitor the data during a full year (2015) to allow tracing goals and defining index for really translating our progress and challenges.
TSBR- In your professional capacity as an industry leader in the Air Traffic sector in Brazil, what are some of the challenges faced and what opportunities are present to both local and international stakeholders?
R: The largest challenge has been planning the actions of the Efficiency and Sustainability Program, since various data necessary for planning did not exist or did not represent the sources and adopted methods. We are improving our management data every day in order to plan and execute our actions more assertively.
TSBR – Finally in your opinion what is the unique feature in your operation that makes it stand out from other providers in the region?
R: The people of RIOgaleão. No airport has a similar team. We have highly qualified professionals who are building and developing a more cordial airport, better serving the needs of the customers, of its members and general community without forgetting the legal aspects, operational safety and sustainability.
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11 January 2016