Ponte Aerea: The Brazilian Air Bridge by Henry Tenby
Airline Executive, April, 1989
In the summer of 1988, I had the life-influencing opportunity to make a series of visits to VARIG Airlines in Rio to document their amazing Lockheed Electra Ponte Aerea (Air Bridge) operation which then connected Rio’s Santos Dumont Airport with Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport.
During these visits I made several flights on VARIG’s Electras and met with senior VARIG management including Manoel Torres, Schedules Manager, and Harro Fouquet, Planning Director.
As a 24 year old university student, my VARIG scoop was an accomplishment I was proud of. During these visits I made many friends at VARIG, but have lost contact over the many decades that have since passed.
In 1992, the VARIG Electra operation came to an end after three decades of glorious service, as the reliable Lockheed classics were replaced by Boeing 737-300s. The article below was prepared for Airline Executive magazine, and details the history and business case challenges of the day for the Ponte Aerea.