Recife/Guararapes–Gilberto Freyre International Airport (IATA: REC, ICAO: SBRF) is the airport of Recife, Brazil. The name Guararapes is a reference to the Guararapes Battle, fought in the surrounding area. Since 27 December 2001, the airport has been named after Gilberto Freyre (1900–1987), a renowned sociologist who was born in Recife.
Originally called Ibura Airport, the airport had its name changed to Guararapes Airport in 1948. The facility originated at the time of World War II, when a new airport was built to replace the earlier airfield, Parque do Encanta Moça. With the end of the War, the facility became strategically important as a technical and refueling stop on the route from South America to Europe.
On 18 January 1958, a new passenger terminal was inaugurated, replacing the original facility. During this time, runway 14/32 was extended from 1,800 m (5,906 ft) to 2,010 m (6,594 ft), and runway 18/36 was extended from 1,800 m to 2,400 m (7,874 ft).
In 1979, an agreement with Infraero was made in order to further develop the airport complex. The passenger terminal underwent its first major renovation in 1982 and another enlargement in 1990.
In 2004 a brand-new passenger terminal was built, including a new shopping mall, thus generating more traffic and revenue. Furthermore, a new concourse was opened in 2004 and the airport's capacity increased from 1.5 to 9 million passengers/year. Today, the runway is 3,300 meters (10,827 ft) long, the longest in Northeastern Brazil.
On 31 August 2009 Infraero unveiled a BRL 8.75 million (USD 4.6 million; EUR 3.2 million) investiment plan to upgrade Guararapes International Airport, focusing on the preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Recife being one of the venue cities. The investment was spent in finishing the passenger terminal renovation, installing 8 more jetways. The work was completed on 1 July 2011, and the airport is now considered ready for the FIFA Cup.
The Brazilian Integrated Air Traffic Control and Air Defense Center, section 3 (Cindacta III) is located in the vicinity of the airport.
1 November 1961: a Panair do BrasilDouglas DC-7C registration PP-PDO flying from Sal to Recife, during its final approach struck an 84-m hill 2.7 km from the runway and broke up. The aircraft was doing a night approach too low and outside the regular traffic pattern. Forty-five passengers and crew out of the 88 persons aboard died. The aircraft was operating the Voo da amizade (Friendship Flight).
11 November 1991: a NordesteEmbraer EMB110P1 Bandeirante registration PT-SCU, operating flight 115 from Recife to Maceió, during on initial climb had an engine failure followed by fire. The aircraft crashed on a populated area. All 13 aircraft occupants and 2 persons on the ground died.
15 September 2001: a TAM AirlinesFokker 100 registration PT-MRN, operating charter flight 9755, flying from Recife to Campinas-Viracopos, had an uncontained engine failure en route and 3 cabin windows were shattered by engine debris fragments. The plane made an emergency landing at Belo Horizonte-Confins. One passenger was partially sucked out through a window and held by another passenger until the aircraft landed. The passenger did not survive, though.
^Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Buraco negro". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928–1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 197–203. ISBN978-85-7430-760-2.
^Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Fogo na decolagem". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928–1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 364–369. ISBN978-85-7430-760-2.