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Brazil to spend US2.5 Billions on airports for 2014 world cup

Article Published: Friday 25 July 2008

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Brazil will spend US$2.5 billion (€1.59 billion) to prepare the country's most important airports in time for the 2014 World Cup, the country's airport authority said Thursday.

The government agencey Infraero said in a statement that 3.9 billion reals (US$2.5 billion, €1.59 billion) will be used to expand and modernize airports like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia among others by the end of 2010.

The announcement came less than a week after aviation experts warned that Brazil lacks the airport infrastructure to accommodate the influx of visitors expected during World Cup.

Last week, Adalberto Febeliano, executive vice president of the Brazilian Association of General Aviation, said the country's airport system handles 4 million passengers a month and that the total was expected to double during the World Cup.

He said Brazil would need to start upgrading its airports as soon as possible to be able to handle that much traffic six years from now.

Febeliano said the most critical situation is in Sao Paulo, South America's biggest city and a major hub for international flights.
The nation's capital of Brasilia also has problems at its as does Rio de Janeiro - which could host the final.

The Infraero statement said work had already begun in some airports like Rio de Janeiro, where one terminal is being renovated. In Sao Paulo, a new terminal is planned.

Infraero said it is analyzing the needs of all of the country's 67 airports, but giving priority to the airports of the 18 cities bidding to host World Cup games.

Experts say aviation problems in Brazil stem from chronic underspending on radar, runways and other infrastructure to meet increased demand.
Safety upgrades, backup systems and even training for air traffic controllers have been delayed for years despite exponential growth in flights serving South America's robust economies.
A plane crash that killed 199 people last year, combined with radar failures and other problems created an air chaos that prompted mass cancelations and delays lasting several days across Brazil.
Several thousand passengers were stranded at airports and ticket-counter revolts were routine.


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