a) From your country to São Paulo
All international flights to São Paulo arrive at the Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), also known as “Cumbica” airport. Guarulhos (pronounced “gwarooleews”) is the largest airport of South America and receives daily flights from several countries.
From Europe: Flight time from Europe to São Paulo is just over eleven hours depending on your starting point. Most flights leave Europe in the evening and arrive in São Paulo in the early morning. The return flights depart in the late afternoon or early evening and arrive in Europe the following day around lunchtime or earlier. Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, Swiss, TAP, Turkish and the Brazilian carrier TAM all run regular services between Europe and São Paulo.
From North America: Flight time from North America to São Paulo varies in the range from eight and a half hours from Miami to just over twelve hours from Los Angeles. Most flights are overnight flights that arrive in Brazil early in the morning. The same is true for the return legs. Flights are operated by Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta, TAM, United Airlines and US Airways.
From Asia: São Paulo receives daily flights from many Asian cities. Usually, the flights are either via the US (e.g. Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas or Atlanta), Europe (e.g. Frankfurt, London, Paris or Barcelona) or South Africa (via Johannesburg). Flight times depend on your starting point. From Japan and Korea the flight time is about twenty-four hours. Besides North American, European and African companies which fly to Brazil and can be used to reach São Paulo from Asia, there are regular flights operated by Air China, Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.
From Latin America: São Paulo receives daily flights from most Latin American capitals and major cities and is served by Aerolineas Argentinas, AeroMexico, Avianca, Boliviana de Aviación, Copa Airlines, Cubana de Aviación, GOL, LAN, TACA and TAM.
From Africa: There are only three airlines that operate direct regular flights between São Paulo and the African continent: Ethiopian Airlines, which flies from Addis Ababa via Lomé in Togo, ATAAG Angola Airlines, which flies from Luanda, and South African Airways, which flies from Johannesburg.
Oceania: There are no direct flights from Oceania to Brazil. The best options are to fly to Buenos Aires in Argentina or to Santiago in Chile and then to São Paulo.
b) From São Paulo to Ribeirão Preto
From Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) there are daily flights to Ribeirão Preto (airport code RAO) operated by TAM and the Brazilian regional carrier Passaredo. Another option to go from São Paulo to Ribeirão Preto by plane is to go to São Paulo’s domestic airport, Congonhas (CGH), and fly from there. Congonhas (pronounced “Congonyas”) is the busiest airport in Brazil and has daily flights to Ribeirão Preto operated by TAM.
There is a shuttle bus service linking Guarulhos and Congonhas, called “Airport Service“. Buses (painted blue and red) depart daily about every thirty minutes from 5:30 am to 12 midnight, and then at 1:30 am, 3:00 am and at 4:30 am. Under good traffic conditions the journey takes about one hour. Notice: São Paulo is plagued for very heavy traffic jams, especially on weekdays, so the shuttle bus journey from GRU to CGH can be very frustrating. So, always allow plenty of time between your arrival in GRU and your departure from CGH.
An alternative for those who want to fly to Ribeirão Preto but do not need or want to spend time in São Paulo is to take the international flight to Rio de Janeiro instead of São Paulo. International flights to Rio arrive at the Tom Jobim International Airport (GIG), formerly called Galeão (pronounced “Gahleaum”). There are regular flights from GIG to Ribeirão Preto operated by Passaredo. You can also take a taxi from GIG to Rio’s domestic airport, Santos Dumont (SDU), which is located downtown. TAM operates non-stop daily flights between SDU and RAO.
Passaredo also operates daily flights between Ribeirão Preto and Belo Horizonte (non-stop), Brasília (non-stop), Goiânia (non-stop or via Uberlândia), and Salvador (via Brasília and Barreiras). One also can fly to Ribeirão Preto from any major Brazilian city by TAM, via Congonhas, or by Azul (another Brazilian carrier), via the international airport of Campinas (Viracopos International Airport).
The airport of Ribeirão Preto (RAO) is called Leite Lopes. This is a small airport and after your arrival you should take a taxi to your hotel.