By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Passengers trying to board aircrafts on domestic airports across Brazil continue to face long lines at security gates, as the country tightens security not only for passengers of international flights but also domestic trips. There are reports that passengers at São Paulo’s Congonhas airport, Rio’s Santos Dumont and Brasilia’s Juscelino Kubitschek had to wait as long as 45 minutes to pass through enhanced security checkpoints.
On Monday, Brazil’s National Aviation Agency (ANAC) implemented extra security measures for domestic flights, mirroring safety precautions taken on international flights, such as stricter hand-luggage spot checks and random passenger body checks.
“The adoption of these procedures has the sole purpose of ensuring the safety of all passengers and their families in the Brazilian air transport system,” said the note released by ANAC on Monday afternoon. The agency also suggested passengers arrive two hours before their flight so that they have time to pass through security.
On Tuesday morning, according to local media, the line to pass through the security gates at São Paulo’s domestic airport extended throughout the corridors, reaching the arrival gates.
Security has been beefed up for the Olympics and Paralympic games in Rio in August and September. Since the Nice, France attack, Brazilian security officials have been reviewing their security plans for Rio and the cities scheduled to host soccer games (São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Manaus, Brasilia and Salvador).
Authorities say that in addition to the more than a half a million international visitors expected to fly into Brazil for the games, security has already been tightened for the hundreds of foreign sports delegations that should be arriving within the next two weeks. On Tuesday, the Iranian delegation, one of the first to arrive, landed in São Paulo’s international airport.