About the Airport

Petrolina Airport serves as one of the main fruit-producing centers in the country. In 2021, Petrolina, in Pernambuco, located on the banks of the São Francisco River, was ranked first in the agribusiness sector in the Best Cities to Do Business ranking, prepared by a specialized consultancy. The city stands out for its beautiful wineries and natural landscapes, especially on boat trips through Velho Chico (São Francisco River), which is considered one of the biggest attractions in the region.

Microregion: Petrolina
The number of cities 8 | Population 514 thousand | GDP R$ 9,3BI and part. 4,7% in UF (Federative Unit) 
Source: IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) - current value for 2019


  • NAME: Aeroporto de Petrolina - Senador Nilo Coelho
  • ADDRESS: BR 235, km 11, Zona rural - CEP: 56.313-900 - Petrolina/PE
  • GROSS LEASABLE AREA (ABLC, in Portuguese):  336 m², representing 9.9% of the Passenger Terminal.
  • AIRPORT SITE: 4.106.673 m²
  • AIRCRAFT YARD - Yard 1: 4.542 m²  (commercial aviation) / Yard2: 4.290 m² (general aviation) / Yard3: 9.191 m² (freighter aviation)
  • AIRCRAFT PARKING: Yard1: 2 positions C (commercial aviation) / Yard 2: 6 positions A (general aviation) / Yard 3: 3 posições C ou 1 position E (freighter aviation)
  • TAXIWAY: 3 taxiways
  • VEHICLE PARKING: 308 spots


The 1930s
1932 - Several airports were built to support the Military Air Mail, especially between Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza in 1932. Petrolina anticipated the construction of an airfield, and the city government began construction.
1933 - On February 16, 1933, the airport was officially opened with the landing of the first Military Air Mail aircraft, a Waco, piloted by Lieutenant Nelson Lavanery Wanderley.

The 1940s
1941 - On March 28, 1941, the operation from Rio de Janeiro – Bom Jesus da Lapa – Petrolina – Recife route began, carried out with a Beechcraft 18 aircraft, by Navegação Aérea Brasileira – NAB.

The 1950s
1958 - In 1958, the Ministry of Aeronautics assumed responsibility for maintenance and conservation; and the modest airport continued to fulfill its purpose until dynamic and disorderly urbanization enveloped it and left it right in the heart of the city. From an operational and security point of view, it became imperative to relocate the airport.

The 1970s
1974 - The evident socio-economic potential of the region motivated the construction of a large airport. In 1974, negotiations began to release an excellent area to house the new location. A project was prepared by the II COMAR (Comando Aéreo Regional, in Portuguese) and the Comissão de Aeroportos da Região Amazônica (COMARA, in Portuguese).
1978 - Runways and aprons were ready in 1978, and, in the following year, the airport was ready to be opened. The inauguration was scheduled for the visit of the then President of the Republic, João Batista de Figueiredo.

The 1980s
1980 - Everything was organized for the visit of the then president João Batista de Figueiredo, who would be in the region to inaugurate the Eclusa do Lago de Sobradinho on June 27, 1980, and the new airport. Although the presidential entourage made the first official landing at the new airport, receiving flight protection instructions still from the old airport's facilities, its inauguration did not occur on that date. The airport remained inactive for another year.
1981 - In October 1981, Infraero received the task of making it operational and took over its management. The airport had been completed for two years, but the communications and flight protection system had not yet been installed. On October 28, in a ceremony presided over by the then president of Infraero, Lieutenant-Brigadier Protásio Lopes de Oliveira, the new Petrolina airport was officially opened.
1984 - The airport was built to operate modern transport aircraft, and received until June 21, 1984, only small private aircraft and the Bandeirantes from the Companhia de Aviação Regional (Nordeste). A Varig Boeing 737, bringing a delegation of high official representatives, inaugurated the new phase of commercial lines with large models, connecting Petrolina to Recife, São Paulo, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, and Rio de Janeiro.

The 1990s
1995 - The Petrolina Cargo Logistics Terminal was opened in 1995.

The 2000s
2000 - As of February 17, 2000, Petrolina Airport was enabled for takeoffs and landings of aircraft intended for the transport of international cargo. On July 3, the then Vice-President of the Republic, Marcos Maciel, customs bonded the extraordinary airport period for six months, meaning that he was assigned the status of customs.
2002 - On July 1, 2002, the airport was permanently bonded and renamed Petrolina – Senador Nilo Coelho Airport in honor of a Brazilian politician who was secretary of the treasury, state and federal deputy, governor, and senator for Pernambuco.

The 2010s
2010 - As of November 1, 2010, Petrolina  –  Senador Nilo Coelho Airport started to operate 24 hours a day.
2013 - In 2013, the passenger terminal was requalified with expansions of the departure and arrival lounges – from 307 m² to 788 m² in the departure lounge and from 235 m² to 777 m² in the arrivals hall – and also the maneuvering area. With this expansion, the service capacity increased to one million passengers per year.

Source: Infraero

The 2020s
2021 - After the 6th Round of Airport Concessions, CCR won the South and Central Groups, winning the Petrolina/PE International Airport.
2022 - Start of operation by CCR Group