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By Bruno De Nicola, Senior Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – After New Year’s Eve celebrations, Brazil is facing a new countdown. This time, for the 2014 FIFA World Cup that represents a great challenge for the country’s infrastructure development.

President of Infraero, Murilo Marques Barbosa, photo by Wilson Dias/ABr.
President of Infraero, Murilo Marques Barbosa, photo by Wilson Dias/ABr.

According to a study by O Globo, the eight main Brazilian airports face major challenges – due to matters that go from congestion to investigations over illicit financing – of their infrastructural improvement.

All unfortunate conditions that need to be changed and that, despite the government’s optimism, seem to be pretty far away from an effective solution.

In São Paulo, the Congonhas and the Cumbica airports, where the image of passengers waiting in a line became a sort of leitmotiv, are going to receive a financial aid by the government of just R$45.5 million. Many speculate this is insufficient funding and won’t really cover significant improvements before 2014.

In Rio de Janeiro, the third floor of the Santos Dumont Airport – where restaurants and banks are expected to be placed – is still on hold. Contractors started construction two years ago, however, due to a federal investigation lead by the Tribunal das Contas da União (TCU) (Federal Finance Justice), work has been frozen and the completion date remains undefined.

Aerial view of Santos Dumont Airport, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, photo by Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.
Aerial view of Santos Dumont Airport, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, photo by Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

Again in the Cidade Maravilhosa, the Galeão International Airport improvement plan proceeds at a level under its potential. The airport renovations should end in 2012, however many experts believe that major electric and pluming efforts still haven’t been faced and may end up causing delays.

The Brasília International Airport reportedly suffers air-traffic problems during rush-hours, a situation compounded by the country’s capital geography, with a lack of train service and difficult travel by bus. Another challenge for the infrastructure is that a larger number of Brasília’s government workers commute just for the week days, and leave during the weekends.

In Confins, Minas Gerais, the Confins International Airport has reports of passangers waiting for forty minutes to collect their luggage at the baggage claim. Apparently the rolling conveyor belts are from 1983 and according to the Infraero – the government’s agency for aeronautical management – are too small and too old.

In the southern part of Brazil, Porto Alegre’s International Airport is Salgado Filho, and it’s expansion plan depends on the relocation of 1,500 families. People who lived in the area for decades will loose their homes and be moved to new buildings. No construction plan has been presented yet for the imminent housing challenge.

The Guararapares Airport in Recife also has a few issues to be resolved. The main one is represented by the fact that the international transportation infrastructure is working way below expected levels, while traveler numbers keep growing quite rapidly.

Eight big ‘Abacaxis’ (Pineapples – Brazilian idiom for complex problems) that the federal government will have to face along with ongoing social and economic challenges in the rush to keep to turn Brazil into a first-world country before 2014.

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