By Charlotte Markham, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This week the 2016 Olympic preparations in Rio de Janeiro passed a couple of major milestones; the conclusion of over 44 test events around the city, and the opening of South Pier in Terminal 2 at Galeão/Tom Jobim International Airport, an area of 100,000 square meters with 26 boarding gates.
The test events, a vital process before opening any Olympic games, allowed for the Rio staff to not only make adjustments to any venues that presented problems, but also provided a rehearsal exercise for over 2,000 staff and 8,000 volunteers set to work during the games.
The concluding test event, the Paralympics Athletes Competition on May 21st, brought to a closure another step in the run up to the opening of Rio 2016 on August 5th.
Agberto Guimarães, Rio 2016’s executive director of sport, said the test events are as much a trial for the Athletes as for the Rio staff, “Like athletes, we only get better results if we train more, until our actions become automatic.” Guimarães explained that the tests were an opportunity for the staff to experience what is to come in August.
Another landmark move for Rio was the opening of the South Pier in Terminal 2, also on Monday (May 23rd). The new terminal nearly doubles Rio’s international Galeão/Tom Jobim airport and has become the airport with the most boarding bridges, 26 in total, throughout Latin American. It is also expected that a further four lounges will be inaugurated before the Games begin.
The consortium that has taken care of the Galeão since the auction in 2013, includes Singapore’s Changi International Airport, which was voted in March as the best in the world for the fourth consecutive year. In total, Rio Galeão consortium has invested around R$2 billion in improvements. By the end of the contract in 2039, it is expected that there will be a further R$3.2 billion in investment and an increase in capacity to over sixty million passengers per year.
Officials say that about 2.5 million visitors should pass by Galeão during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. On average, the airport has 40,000 passengers a day, but the day after the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games the number is expected to reach 90,000.