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.
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.