The Fortaleza Airport hub celebrated its six-month anniversary at the beginning of November. Figures for passenger traffic and tourism show that the new flight connections have been a resounding success both for Fortaleza and the state of Ceará.
The Fortaleza Airport hub was created in early May by an alliance between Air France, KLM and Gol Airlines. Since then, Fortaleza has offered several weekly flights connecting to Paris and Amsterdam directly. These come in addition to many extra connections to other Brazilian state capitals.
Between May and September, some 125,000 international visitors arrived at Fortaleza. This figure that is almost 65% higher than the same period in 2017. And since the Fortaleza Airport hub began operations, almost 1 million passengers have used it.
“The hub is a clear win for Ceará,” said Arialdo Pinho, state minister for tourism in declarations to the Ceará press. “It has opened the doors of our state that now acts as the main entry point to North and Northeast Brazil.”
More international tourism
Tourist offices in Fortaleza report a big uptick in the number of foreign visitors in the city and have recorded 34 different nationalities since the hub opened. “These figures are on a par with those seen during the 2014 World Cup,” Pinho pointed out.
State tourism statistics also highlight benefits for the state as a whole. Of the over 125,000 foreigners who used the Fortaleza Airport hub between May and September, 70% of them stayed on for a holiday in Ceará. 2018 has been an excellent year for tourism in the state, currently experiencing something of a boom.
Goal for Gol
The Brazilian partner in the Fortaleza Airport hub, Gol Airlines, also has plenty of reasons to be satisfied with the first six months of operations. According to the Brazilian Civil Aviation Authorities (ANAC), Gol carried over 940,000 passengers to and from Fortaleza between May and September. This translates to a 35.5% increase in the year. The main destinations from Fortaleza in Brazil were Recife, Salvador and Manaus.
“We are very happy with the results,” said Rafael Araújo, director of the Gol planning network. “Fortaleza Airport as a centre for connecting flights is gradually taking shape and our aim is to launch new domestic and international flights over the next few months.”
New connections to the US
Gol has recently implemented direct flights between Fortaleza and Orlando and Miami in Florida. Brazilians tend to be the main market for flights, but the airline has been surprised at the take-up for inbound tickets. Fortaleza and Ceará are increasingly popular among American tourists looking to visit Northeast Brazil.
According to Araújo, the alliance between Gol and Delta Airlines facilitates connections from Fortaleza flights to other destinations in the US. “This shows that Fortaleza is a very sought-after place for foreigners,” he said.
(Source: Diario do Nordeste)