Access to Sao Paulo for US Airways was part of the deal they struck to trade slots with Delta at LaGuardia and Washington’s National airport. Now US Airways has finally announced their intended schedule of service for the route. Starting on May 5, 2013 the carrier will offer daily service on their 767-200 aircraft.
|Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) – Sao Paulo-Guarulhos (GRU)|
|Sao Paulo-Guarulhos (GRU) – Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)|
So, ummm, yeah…about those flight times.
The 4:30am arrival in Sao Paulo is just over an hour before the bus service into town starts up. Most days they’ll be vying with the TAM inbound from Madrid to see which is the first international arrival of the morning. That could be good in the form of shorter immigration and customs lines or it could be a mess with limited service available. The plane sits on the ground for a few hours at that point before turning around back to North America that same day. Most carriers fly both to and from Brazil as an overnight flight; US Airways is choosing to not leave a plane on the ground all day to make that happen. American Airlines and TAM both also have daytime flights but those two carriers offer both daytime and the overnight options (and more destinations at both ends).
And the 8:25am departure on the north-bound flight is mighty early. With the traffic in general and the distance from GRU to town that means a 5:30ish departure from the hotel in the morning to get going. Maybe 6am if you’re feeling a bit aggressive.
I can only assume that the 4:30am arrival time is dictated by the slot requirements. Otherwise there is nothing stopping the carrier from leaving an hour later and having a more reasonable arrival time in Brazil and better inbound connections in Charlotte. At least for the return it would seem that they need the aircraft to continue on to Europe at some point that same night, necessitating the earlier departure.
Unlike some previously announced longhaul routes US Airways is actually going to run this one it would seem. Perhaps not the best timed flights, but having the service at all is a pretty big step.
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