Dozens of flights canceled as São Paulo Guarulhos airport is blocked

Between Monday and Tuesday, around 25 flights were canceled at Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) in São Paulo, Brazil, following a blockade by protesters angry after the results of the presidential election in the country South American. Several airlines have been forced to rearrange their schedules, including a United Airlines service from Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD) which has been turned back mid-air.

Canceled flights at Guarulhos International

As local media reported, around 25 flights were canceled and many more suffered delays Monday and Tuesday at Guarulhos International Airport, Brazil’s busiest hub. There were trucker blockades on the roads leading to the airport after incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro lost to left-wing opponent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. On social media, there are photos and videos of passengers walking the streets with their luggage, trying to get to the airport and board their flights.


This weekend, Lula da Silva – former Brazilian president – ​​won a third term in the second round, with 50.9% of the vote. Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing Brazilian president, did not give in to his left-wing challenger, and his supporters launched nationwide protests saying the presidential election was rigged.

Affected flights

Looking at, several international flights were canceled between Monday evening and Tuesday morning. For example, Delta flights 226 and 104 from New York JFK and Atlanta, respectively, were canceled, and United services UA148 and UA845 from Newark and Chicago were also canceled.

United Airlines flight UA845 had already taken off from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on Monday evening aboard a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration N26967. While flying over South Carolina, the crew diverted to Chicago. As local media reported, the crew who were scheduled to work on the return flight were unable to make it to the airport due to the ongoing protests.


LATAM Brasil has also suffered from the ongoing protests. In a statement, the airline – which is the main operator of Guarulhos – said some flights were being impacted due to significant route blockages, and this is a situation completely beyond its control. LATAM added that it regretted the issue and advised all of its customers to check their flight status on the company’s website and get to airports earlier. Simple Flying has contacted the administrator of Guarulhos airport, GRU Airport, for comment. The company was not immediately available.

Photo: Lukas Souza | Single flight.

Guarulhos Connectivity

Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo is Brazil’s main hub. According to data from the Brazilian civil aviation authorities, Guarulhos handled 23.3 million passengers in 2022, holding an 18.44% market share in the Brazilian civil aviation industry. Guarulhos has recovered 75% of its passengers compared to its pre-pandemic traffic.

Every week, Guarulhos International Airport has around 2,202 departing commercial flights, according to data from Cirium. The most important route from the airport is the LATAM flight to Porto Alegre, with 58 weekly flights, or between eight and nine a day. LATAM Brasil is the largest airline from Guarulhos, with 1,090 weekly departures, followed by GOL Linhas Aéreas with 609 and Azul with 161.

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