Are Brazil's Airports ready for the World Cup?

I've had the opportunity to fly frequently to many airports in Brazil.  During Carnival it's chaotic at GIG or SDU.  I can imagine the airports being much more chaotic, but I am not sure what the airports are planning to do.  I imagine more taxi's available to limit the lines for the taxi which are very very long. 

If you've ever been to SDU in what I call the "bus" terminal in spite of not remembering the actual terminal number you know what I am talking about.  Maybe 10 gates where we are all waiting for buses to take you to the plane, and it's difficult to even move around or find out what's happening with you flight.

Kiosks sometimes are not working.

During busy seasons, I've seen a 3 hour lineup just at the check in counter for Gol in Belo Horizonte.

Lack of quality of food inside security at most airports (ok, now this one is a just a personal complaint :) )

This will be interesting.  I am sure it can be pulled off, but I wonder what the airports and airlines are going to do to mitigate these problems for the large volume of people.

Dan,

If you continue thinking like a Canadian you're going to drive yourself nuts here in Brazil. We Canucks are spoiled, we've grown up having it all, living in a country where things really work the way they should, especially anything connected with the government. You have to lose that mindset here completely.

Nothing works here, there is no infrastructure and there are extreme differences in terms of socio-economic conditions and social justice. For example the last census showed that in the city of São Paulo only one in six homes has indoor plumbing (bathroom). There are millions of Brazilians who do not have the luxury of basic sanitation.

Of course the airports are a disaster, they don't work and never will work efficiently. That is because of the extremely high level of bureaucracy which is a legacy form the Portuguese colonizers. There are far too many government agencies all responsible for the same thing. In Civil Aviation there's ANAC, Infraaero, Ministério de Defesa, among others. They all dance around issues doing nothing, so as not to step on the toes of another agency with overlapping jurisdiction.

You are being extremely unfair to the country and in the long run going to jeopardize your successful integration into Brazilian life if you keep trying to compare things to Canada or any other developed nation, Brazil is a long way from being a developed nation yet. Thankfully, it is moving in the right direction, but it's going to take quite some time yet to get there.

Cheers,
William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

I think you are misunderstanding the intent of my question.  I am not comparing anything to Canada, rather I am being objective about what I see.  My Brazilian friends here are also all wondering the same thing.  Will the airports be able to handle all of the people here?

I am in no way trying to be unfair.  It's a basic question about the strategy of the airports to be able to handle the influx of people we are going to have at the world cup.

Example, a strategy could be to provide buses specifically for the world cup at the airports that will assist in moving people to different parts of the city.

I look at trying to figure out solutions to problems.  There are always solutions, and if they've found a solution to the problem at the airports I would like to hear about it.

No, they won't be ready for either the World Cup or the Olympics. The time for that has long passed. This is obvious to all Brazilians. Somehow they'll muddle through, as they've always managed to do, but it will be utter chaos just like ANY holiday period is ONLY WORSE.

Just look at BH for example. When I lived there there were two fully functioning airports Confins (Tancredo Neves) and Pampulha. Pampulha was a super-convenient active airport and almost overnight the state government killed it, taking all of the national flights out of the airport and shifting them to Confins (stupid, stupid, stupid move).

Nothing will change anytime soon.

Cheers,
William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

I found this article today.  Interesting.  It seems at least anyone flying to or from GRU might be in luck as Infraero is no longer running the show, and they are building a new terminal.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2 … world-cup/

Hi Dan,

Really interesting story, thanks for the link. My take on it is that the writer is buying the Brazilian government's self-serving propaganda hook, line and sinker.

The problem at Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) is not just the lack of terminal space, which the addition of a new terminal will partially address, but rather the fact that the airport is already operating at near capacity. There are precious few new landing/takeoff slots aviailable to be sold to airlines. This is something that only an additional runway and improved tower facilities (ground control/air traffic control) can resolve.

Traditionally, even in developed nations it takes on average ten to fifteen years to get through all the bureaucracy and construct a new runway at any airport. I don't see this happening here in Brazil. Even if they passed special laws that exempted GRU from all environmental regulations, contract bidding legislations, and other bureaucratic processes I highly doubt they could get a new runway in place even by 2016 for the Olympic Games and that's not to mention the CPTM commuter train link to São Paulo's city center that would be necessary to make everything work. Sorry to say.

Sadly, in São Paulo there are only two alternatives; Viracopos Airport in Campinas which is quite a bit farther away from the city and Congonhas International Airport which is already maxed out and is an extremely nerve wracking airport to try and land at in something as small as a Boeing 737-800 or Airbus A330. I don't even know if Congonhas is capable of handling larger aircraft.

Cheers,
William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Well if Brasilia's newly privatized Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport is any indication of the level of preparedness for the Copo das Confederações, Copo do Mundo and Jogos Olímpicos then we're all in big trouble folks.

A TAP Portugal Airbus A330 arriving from Lisbon was directed by controllers onto a taxiway that was inappropriate (too small) for the aircraft type. This resulted in a collision with a lighting tower. While the aircraft sustained only minor damage to the wingtip it certainly could have been much worse.

This clearly points out one of the numerous deficiences in Civil Aviation here in Brazil. Inadequate training for essential personnel, improper procedures, outdated and inoperative equipment, communication and radar systems that leave dead spots (pun intended) in what should be nationwide coverage.

Since the ultimate responsibility for orientations given by controllers falls on the Aeronáutica and pilots (especially from foreign countries) rely on accurate information and instructions  from controllers, the Brazilian Airforce (FAB) will essentially be investigating itself. Who wants to bet that the investigation will blame the lighting tower and electrician as the cause, rather than point the finger at the real culprit.

Cheers,
William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Hi friends, let me add a comment about the Belo Horizonte situation, where I have been much of the lat 33 years.  Due to the mountains and weather patterns, the low valley location of the PLU airport caused great problems for me and other frequent fliers.  It was closed due to fog 280+ times in one year before the Confins (CNF).  PLU now is very busy with near hourly flights to Santos Dumont (SDU) and Congonhas (CGH) in Sao Paulo, receiving those at the same rate.  CNF offers flights mainly to GRU, GIG, BSB, SSA and a number of international connections.  We are asked to arrive 2 hours before a domestic flight and 3 hours before an international connection, not just in Brazil, but around the world.  If you follow those recommendations, you are not likely to be stuck in long lines very often, from my experience.  Most Brazilians arrive and hour or even less before the flight leaves, causing long lines.   What will happen with the World Cup, we will see, and the planes and airports are already full, most of the time!

Hi Douglas,

I have a question you probably can answer for me. When I lived in BH Pampulha Airport was used by all of the major Brazilian airlines - TAM, GOL, Varig, VASP, BRA and a host of other smaller lines. Then Aceio Neves and the government of the day decided to move most of the operations to Confins.

Are there any flights out of PLU using either Boeing 737s or Airbus A-300 series aircraft anymore or are the flights now all regional airlines using smaller aircraft?

Cheers,
William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Hi James,

I don't know.  I usually travel in and out of Confins.  Most of the BR airlines are using the airport, but with the mergings, perhaps fewer now than in the past.

Sorry I cannot be more helpful!

Cheers, Douglas

From what I have learned while talking to locals here, there are regular international flights now to Miami, Panama City, (AA, Copa) and other places which I believe they didn't have the option to do at Pampulha. 

I believe Gol is soon (or now) to be providing BH to Miami service as well.  It's less convenient for people in BH to travel 45 minutes + to the airport, but there are more service options I suppose.

Thanks Dan, but I was really interested in exactly what kind of flights still operate out of PLU in case somebody asks me.

Cheers,
William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Hi Douglas,

Thanks for your input. I think that Guarulhos Int'l Airport (presently Brazil's highest volume) probably suffers from much the same weather effects as Confins because of the proximity of mountains. It also has two parallel runways so much of the time wind direction is a real issue for takeoffs and landings. Congonhas Int'l Airport is a real problem too, extremely dangerous because of the density of tall buildings in the flight path.

Cheers,
James

At this point, as everyone has been predicting all along, hardly anything is ready for the World Cup.

São Paulo's Cumbica Int'l Airport in Guarulhos is racing against the clock still.

With slightly more than 6 months before the games begin the airport in São Gonçalo do Amarante, Greater Natal - RN is 69% completed and by all accounts won't be ready in time for the 4 games scheduled for the Arena de Dunas.

Meanwhile in Fortaleza - CE, the expansion project for Pinto Martins Int'l Airport are only 1/4 completed and highly unlikely to be finised on time. A second phase of the project won't be completed until 2017.

According to a recent study 75% of the mobility projects for the World Cup are behind schedule or have been completely discarded.

With each passing day it is looking like Itaquerão in São Paulo is going to be out of the running as far as hosting the Opening Ceremonies for the World Cup, it is highly doubtful that the stadium will now be ready on time at all.

Light Rapid Transit projects in Cuiabá, Fortalez and in other cities projects for transit upgrades are running behind schedule and suffer from major cost over-runs.

I hate soccer anyway, so watching the reputation of this country to host anything bigger than a family barbecue go into nuclear meltdown when nothing is ready for the World Cup won't bother me in the least. I'm betting that the implosion of the World Cup projects will even effect the continued viability of the 2016 Olympics.

Eita Brasil-sil-sil!!!!!!!!!!!

Quick answer is that the airports are not ready for the World Cup. Better answer is that the World Cup games are being held all over Brazil so demand is spaced out, you also may have noticed the United States plays mostly in the north and north-east, which I would like to think was intentional. I don't think one airport needs to be perfect, just manageable. The flight plans for international flights coming to Brazil will surely change to meet the demand. One industry can easily tackle the challenge.

http://s2.glbimg.com/PlVKYncNaBIU9ZHVUyyFtG4Tkos=/s.glbimg.com/jo/g1/f/original/2014/01/08/aeroportomrondon620.jpg.jpg
This is the latest photo of Marechal Rondon Airport in Várzea Grande a neighboring city of Cuiabá - MT. It is only 40% completed with six months remaining until the World Cup. Now authorities are saying that their "Plan B" is to cover the incompleted roof with tarpaulins.

As if that isn't bad enough they are now admitting that the Light Rapid Transit system under construction in Cuiabá won't be ready until December either.

With each passing day the credibility of this nation sinks deeper into the well, wonder what they're going to do when the hit bottom in June when nothing is ready.

wjwoodward :

[img align=c]http://s2.glbimg.com/PlVKYncNaBIU9ZHVUyyFtG4Tkos=/s.glbimg.com/jo/g1/f/original/2014/01/08/aeroportomrondon620.jpg.jpg[/url]
This is the latest photo of Marechal Rondon Airport in Várzea Grande a neighboring city of Cuiabá - MT. It is only 40% completed with six months remaining until the World Cup. Now authorities are saying that their "Plan B" is to cover the incompleted roof with tarpaulins.

As if that isn't bad enough they are now admitting that the Light Rapid Transit system under construction in Cuiabá won't be ready until December either.

With each passing day the credibility of this nation sinks deeper into the well, wonder what they're going to do when the hit bottom in June when nothing is ready.

This is like a scene out of AA.

The first step to rectifying is accepting the fact you have a problem.

(for 500 years)

OMG, if it's a 12-step program we're doomed!!!

http://s2.glbimg.com/7RBhuapVaYKQk0ajqwBfPEk8UO0=/300x225/s.glbimg.com/jo/g1/f/original/2014/05/11/terminal-3-goteira.jpg
Terminal 3 at Cumbica Airport in Guarulhos was inaugurated today even though there are a number of serious faults. There are leaking roofs, public washrooms have no water supply, a lack of signage throughout the terminal among other things. One of the most serious deficiencies that has been reported is that there will be no celular telephone signal available.

http://s2.glbimg.com/1y1xAWziZTCinuaBmdcXsa_W59c=/s.glbimg.com/jo/g1/f/original/2014/05/11/banheiro.jpg


With just a month remaining until the beginning of the World Cup there are so many unfinished projects throughout the country that is daily becoming much clearer that Brazil is in for an international public relations nightmare on a scale the country has never before seen. FIFA World Cup 2014, The Cup of Cups........ yeah, right!  :lol:

http://s2.glbimg.com/fMJ4NCXmqasXi4YPO-sbRvG-ay8=/s.glbimg.com/jo/g1/f/original/2014/05/11/viracopos1.jpg

Viracopos Airport in Campinas is also seriously delayed and could be facing a fine of R$170 million, plus an additional R$1.7 million per day. Looks like "flying the friendly skies" isn't going to be so easy during the World Cup, doesn't it?

http://s2.glbimg.com/bv4-_UZpqZbHvQGkU7jiK5cAZDc=/s.glbimg.com/jo/g1/f/original/2014/05/19/unnamed_2.jpgPart of the roof of the newly renovated Eduardo Gomes International Airport in Manaus - AM collapsed today during heavy rains causing flooding in the terminal waiting area.

Strange, since our illustrious President Dilma Rousseff just got through making a very strong and public statement in the media that "all of Brazil's airports are completely ready for the World Cup!"

Gee, could it be that somebody has given the poor dear the wrong information???? T-minus 24 days and counting, I wonder if they can pull it off?

Today's news reports are making a big issue of the fact that the absolute lack of signage is causing chaos for anyone trying to find their way from the airports to the stadiums in São Paulo, Rio and Manaus. Surprise, surprise! Guess these reporters were of the mistaken impression that they were in some other country that takes things seriously!

Hey, I studied international standards for highway (road) design, and signage requirements. I can tell you that São Paulo does not follow the "international" standard and prefers the "Brazilian" standard. All well and good except that there are countries in Africa that do a better job of highway design, thus Brazil really has no excuse to do things its own way.

23 days to go to kickoff of the the Fifa Soccer World Cup Brazil 2014! My mates and I are coming and we are bringing the noise. Could anyone please advise of any scheduled events just before the kickoff, i.e. opening concert. Please also advise where to go and what to see in both Sao Paulo and Rio.

We would also love to have a chaperone and or to meet up with South Africans living in Brazil.

Regards
Buzza

Hi Buzza,

Well without knowing exactly what kind of tourist attractions you prefer I'll just list some of the most common.

MASP - São Paulo Art Museum / Ibirapuera Park / Praça da Sé / Avenida Paulista (strolling) and if you're up to a bus trip of a few hours there are some nice beaches Praia Grande (for example) but be very careful while there.

In São Paulo there are a lot of nightclubs in the Itaim Bibi, Pinheiros and Vila Olímpia neighborhoods.

See the following website for some more ideas:

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/So … G-C-1.html

In Rio anywhere in Copacabana, the beach at Ipanema, Botafogo, Cristo Redentor, Pão de Açúcar cable car ride, etc.

http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attract … e-janeiro/

Cheers,
William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

Thanks for the info William James Woodward

dan001 :

I think you are misunderstanding the intent of my question.  I am not comparing anything to Canada, rather I am being objective about what I see.  My Brazilian friends here are also all wondering the same thing.  Will the airports be able to handle all of the people here?
.

I guess that, by now, your Brazilian friends have stopped wondering. It won't be ready.

TigerMcTeague :

Hey, I studied international standards for highway (road) design, and signage requirements. I can tell you that São Paulo does not follow the "international" standard and prefers the "Brazilian" standard. .

Actually, there are 4 standards: International, São Paulo, Brazil and Iraq.

São Paulo Standard is only found in São Paulo and parts of the South of Brazil, like Rio Grande do Sul. Brazil Standard is found in large parts of Rio State and close to BH and Brasilia. The rest of Brazil uses Iraq standard.

lawyer_rio :
TigerMcTeague :

Hey, I studied international standards for highway (road) design, and signage requirements. I can tell you that São Paulo does not follow the "international" standard and prefers the "Brazilian" standard. .

Actually, there are 4 standards: International, São Paulo, Brazil and Iraq.

São Paulo Standard is only found in São Paulo and parts of the South of Brazil, like Rio Grande do Sul. Brazil Standard is found in large parts of Rio State and close to BH and Brasilia. The rest of Brazil uses Iraq standard.

I like this. It's funny.

http://www.copa2014.gov.br/sites/default/files/publicas/confins1.jpg

Belo Horizonte's Confins Airport today officially joined the long list of airports all over Brazil that isn't going to be completely ready for the World Cup.

Anybody surprised by this news?

Orange Jumpsuits! Those must be escaped convicts from US correctional facilities! Watch out James!

Everybody wears orange jumpsuits here....  we wouldn't be able to tell the difference between street cleaners (garis) and convicts if we wanted to!  :/

wjwoodward :

Everybody wears orange jumpsuits here....  we wouldn't be able to tell the difference between street cleaners (garis) and convicts if we wanted to!  :/

Convicts wear Flamengo shirts  :D

With only 9 days remaining to the kickoff of the 2014 FIFA World Cup now it's Brasília's Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport's turn to run into serious problems.

http://s2.glbimg.com/2TtvF8bSM2SKPUCl6NP5i1zriXk=/s.glbimg.com/jo/g1/f/original/2014/06/04/formiga2.jpg

Avianca Airlines check-in area in the basement of the terminal was flooded, equipment including computers was damaged. The airport's administration claims that the flooding was the result of a storm drain that didn't support the flow of rainwater. Just ridiculous the lack of competence and regulation. Engineers are supposed to know about these things, aren't they?

http://s2.glbimg.com/KyWXfjnN9WPH6QgXkaV74Q_Ulkw=/620x465/s.glbimg.com/jo/g1/f/original/2014/05/30/6.jpg

Meanwhile in the Metropolitan Area of Natal - RN their new Aeroporto Governador Aluízio Alves  "international" airport in São Gonçalo do Amarante, was today permitted to open for international flights. The airport went into operation last week and only then some genius realized that there was no authorized Customs post. After much scrambling on the part of authorities who were obviously napping on the job in the first place, a "temporary" Customs post was authorized by the Receita Federal.

Earlier passengers from a TAP Airlines flight from Portugual which arrived at Natal's Augusto Severo International Airport (which was replaced by this new airport, despite being among the best rated in Brazil) had to be bused over 40 Km to the new airport to make their connecting flights, since presently TAP was required to use August Severo while all other national airlines operate out of the new airport.

The government and public sector's handling of everything to do with the World Cup has truly been like watching "Saturday Night at the Improv" non-stop for the past couple of years; nothing but COMEDY.

Cheers,
William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

All that public money, right down the drain!!!

http://www.amigosdepelotas.com.br/uploads/imagens/KUximM_231152.jpg

US based Pew Research Center has just released the dismal results of what Brazilians actually think about the World Cup, the present state of affairs in Brazil and their level of satisfaction with President Dilma Rousseff. Not at all a pretty picture.

Fully 7/!\ I AM A STUPID SPAMMER /!\ of those interviewed are dissatisfied with the country. More Brazilians are unhappy with the fact that Brazil is hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup than there are Brazilians who are in favor of it. They think they got a bad deal because they had to give up education, healthcare, public security and a lot of other necessities in the bargain. Brazilians are almost evenly divided as to their feelings how the games will effect Brazil's image abroad; 39% believe that there will be a negative impact on the way the country and Brazilians are seen abroad, while only 35% believe there will be anything positive regarding Brazil's image result from the games.

So don't be tempted to buy the government line that "everything is peachy keen" here in Brazil, the Brazilian people are all happy as larks about the World Cup and waiting to welcome you all with open arms, they clearly are not all happy. They've forked out nearly R$30 billion (or roughly US$15 billion) and that figure will clearly increase substantially by the time the final bill comes in. Precious little of that will benefit the Brazilian people in any way. It won't generate profit for them, nor will it create any kind of lasting jobs; neither will any of the real assets (stadiums, etc.) benefit the general population in any significant way. Many stadiums in fact will become white elephants that are unlikely to see much in the way of future use. This will certainly be the case with the stadium in Manaus - AM which while incredibly beautiful will probably go unused since Manaus does not have a national (professional) soccer team and is not likely to ever have one. The only real legacy for the Brazilian people that would have come out of the World Cup were the public transportation projects like airports and transportation systems, most of which never got off the ground and were cancelled outright. The airports..... if they don't fall apart in a couple of years then they'll just turn into a financial drag on the country's economy with constant expenditures to fix the defects that were ignored in the haste to construct them in the final few months before the World Cup.

READ THE PEW RESEARCH CENTER REPORT HERE

Cheers,
William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

Well there is one airport that did live up to its expectations. Manaus has become a true International airport.

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