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SBD Global/December 4, 2013/Events and Attractions

Brazil Against Opening New Routes For Foreign Air Carriers Ahead Of 2014 World Cup

Brazil has decided against "opening more routes for foreign air carriers" for the 2014 World Cup, certain it can handle the "millions of sports fans who will use airplanes to get around South America's biggest country," according to Stephen Wade of the AP. Brazil Civil Aviation Secretary Wellington Moreira Franco said that the idea of "expanding routes for foreign carriers 'was never considered.'" Moreira Franco added that Brazilian carriers can "handle the load with 600,000 foreigners and more than 3 million Brazilians expected to head to matches." Some fear Brazil could be "stretched, its creaking airports already strained." The country has "limited rail service, the road network is underdeveloped and overtaxed, and flying will be the only alternative for most traveling to the 12 host cities." The tournament opens June 12 in Sao Paulo and wraps up July 13 in Rio de Janeiro. It can take "10 hours to fly the 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) from the Amazon city of Manaus in the northwest to Porto Alegre in the southeast -- depending on the connections." Moreira Franco: "We will improve and increase the aerial grid to offer more flights. With that, not only will we take care of the demand, but it will cause a decrease in prices (of tickets)." Independent airline industry analyst and former airline executive Robert Mann "doubts local carriers can handle the surge." Mann said, "Any of the Brazilian carriers will think they can do this on their own, but the problem is they will end up flying airplanes full in one direction and empty in another. If they say they can do this on their own, they really haven't thought it through." Mann listed "three bottlenecks: airport terminal capacity, air traffic control capacity and limited passenger capacity for domestic carriers." Financial services company Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth "suggested there may be few problems because casual tourists will stay away." Syth: "I think they'll handle it just fine. The regular traffic stays away and gets backfilled with traffic related to the World Cup." Many of Brazil's airports are "outdated, particularly in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo." Mann: "It's the equivalent of peak-season flying. If you want to go somewhere when everybody else wants to go, you can expect to pay more. That's just economics 101. No one is going to repeal the laws of economics for this event" (AP, 12/2).
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