German Efromovich, senior partner of AviancaTaca airline,
recommends ways to speed your passage through Guarulhos Airport.
German Efromovich excuses himself in a very courtly manner for the way he looks, having just arrived from another part of the world. His day-old beard is a visible sign of his heavy travel schedule.
The night before, he says, he was working on issues regarding AviancaTaca– the airline in which he is a majority shareholder, his present passion, and perhaps one of the best business opportunities of his life.
Grupo Synergy, the holding company that owns Avianca and which he manages with his brother Jose, is based in Sao Paulo. So, with frequent business trips to Colombia and other Latin American countries, he has acquired an enviable—some would say priceless– skill set: he has figured out the fastest way to get through the infamously bottlenecked Guarulhos Airport.
“You can save two hours of your life,” he says.
The first thing you need to do when arriving at Guarulhos is to find a flight that lands before 5:30 a.m. That way, he says, you’ll pass more easily through customs and immigration. But more importantly, you’ll avoid the worst of Sao Paulo’s morning traffic jams. If you follow this suggestion, he affirms, by 8:00 a.m. you’ll have had your shower and you’ll be drinking your coffee at some meeting. “If not, there goes your day.”
His second recommendation is to be one of the first to leave the airplane. Then, walk quickly to get in line for passport review. “If you’re there ahead of eight people, you’ll gain at least 10 minutes,” he says.
If you really need to get to a meeting quickly, have a driver waiting for you at the airport exit– on the departure level. It’s one floor above the arrival level. If you line up behind all the taxis on the floor below, he estimates that your departure from the airport will take an extra 15 minutes.
Efromovich also repeats a common recommendation for travelers to Sao Paulo: find a hotel close to the places where your meetings will take place. If you don’t, it’s possible that you’ll only be able to fit in a couple of meetings per day, due to tangled traffic.
And when you’re leaving Brazil, look for flights that leave around 11:00 p.m., he says. “You can have a quiet meal with your customer,” he says. If, instead, your reservation is in the middle of the afternoon, you can lose up to four hours making sure you arrive at the advance time required to get on your flight.
Also, always take advantage of the option to check-in early by telephone or via Internet so that you can arrive at the airport closer to departure time. “If you choose the right airline and only have hand luggage, you can arrive as late as 40 minutes before departure,” he says with a broad smile.
If you put your mind to it, you may even find more time-saving techniques.
People who recognize good business practices will no doubt see the value of his advice!
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