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

Canceled flights at Guarulhos International

As reported by local media outlets, about 25 flights were canceled, and many more suffered delays, on Monday and Tuesday, at Guarulhos International Airport, Brazil’s most important hub. There have been blockades of truck drivers on the roads leading to the airport following the defeat of incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro against leftist opponent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. On social media, there are photos and videos of passengers walking on the streets with their pieces of luggage, trying to get to the airport and board their flights.

This weekend Lula da Silva –a former Brazilian president– won a third term in the second round, with 50.9% of the votes. Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing Brazilian president, has not conceded to his leftist challenger, and his followers have launched nationwide protests saying the presidential election was rigged.

Impacted flights

By looking at, several international flights were canceled between Monday evening and Tuesday morning. For instance, Delta’s flights 226 and 104 from New York JFK and Atlanta, respectively, were canceled, as well as United’s services UA148 and UA845 from New York JFK and Chicago were also scrapped.

United Airlines flight UA845 had already departed from Chicago O’Hare Airport on Monday night onboard a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registration N26967. While flying over South Carolina, the crew diverted back to Chicago. As reported by local media outlets, the crew that was expected to work the return flight was unable to get to the airport due to the ongoing protests.

United Airlines diverted a flight from Chicago to Sao Paulo back to Chicago.


LATAM Brasil also suffered from the ongoing protests. In a statement, the airline –which is Guarulhos’ leading operator– said that some flights were impacted because of blockades of important roads, and this is a situation totally beyond its control. LATAM added that it regretted the problem and advised all its customers to check their flight status on the company’s website and go to the airports earlier. Simple Flying reached the Guarulhos Airport administrator, GRU Airport, for comment. The company wasn’t immediately available.

Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport

Photo: Lukas Souza | Simple Flying.

Guarulhos connectivity

Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos Airport is the main hub in Brazil. According to data from the Brazilian civil aviation authorities, Guarulhos has received 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 numbers.

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

What do you think about these blockades? Let us know in the comments below.



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