Brazil Airport Renovations Not Expected To Be Completed For World Cup
Work on "crucial" new airport terminals in Brazil ahead of this summer's World Cup "has fallen behind" in most of the dozen Brazilian host cities, "heightening the risk of overcrowding and confusion during the tournament," according to Haynes & Boadle of REUTERS. A temporary canvas terminal will be used instead of a planned airport expansion to receive fans in Fortaleza, which will host six matches including Brazil's game against Mexico. During President Dilma Rousseff's visit to an airport in Belo Horizonte, the site of a semifinal, officials admitted on Monday that "construction would not be completed in time." Back-up plans "are also being prepared in other cities." Aviation consultancy ICF Int'l Principal Carlos Ozores said, "Other airports have not said anything yet, but they will probably have to come up with contingencies." Pele said on Monday that "he worried that the state of Brazil's airports could ruin the opportunity presented by the tournament." He added that "he was saddened to see rushed efforts when his country had years to prepare." The stakes "will be high in Brazil" as more than 600,000 visitors arrive for the World Cup starting in June, "one of the biggest sudden influxes the country has ever seen." Rio de Janeiro-based travel agent Paul Irvine said, "People coming to Brazil are going to be shocked, especially Americans, by how bad the airports are. There won't be any catastrophic issues ... but they will be chaotic and ugly as heck." At Guarulhos Airport outside of Sao Paulo, the "glistening facade of the new Terminal 3 hides an interior still missing several walls, ceilings and basic operating systems." One government official said, "Guarulhos is where we expect to get the most blowback." By most accounts, construction at the privatized airports "has moved at a relentless pace," with as many as 8,000 workers on shifts around the clock at each site. Operators said that they "will deliver new terminals by the deadlines they promised'' (REUTERS, 4/8). The AP reported most analysts said that they "don't expect total chaos" when the Cup begins June 12. But they said that fans "should brace for unfinished construction work, long check-in lines, and last-minute gate changes and flight delays -- all already too common in the country's airports." There "will be crowded boarding areas, difficulties claiming baggage, few food-court options and woeful transportation." Do not expect to find "trains or subway lines to and from the city." Expensive taxis "will be the only option most of the time, and long hours in traffic will be the norm on the way to hotels." Civil aviation and airport consultant Omar Daniel Martins Netto said, ''This is what happens in a country where lack of planning is normal, everything is late." Experts agree that the most crucial work "will be finished." Fundacao Getulio Vargas Professor Gesner Oliveira said, ''I don't think there will be chaos. It won't be perfect. Probably there will be some uncomfortable situations because there won't be time to test everything, but it will all be manageable'' (AP, 4/8).
CONFEDERATIONS CUP: INSIDE THE GAMES' David Owen reported an economic impact study of last year's Confederations Cup claims that the tournament led to a total of 20.7B reais ($9.3B) in financial transactions and added 9.7B reais ($4.37B) to Brazilian gross domestic product. The study, conducted by the Economic Research Institute Foundation (FIPE) and published by the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, also said that the competition "created the equivalent of more than 300,000 jobs." Some 58% of the 9.7B reais in extra GDP is "said to have been spent in the six host cities of Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador," with 42% "disbursed elsewhere" (INSIDE THE GAMES, 4/8). The EFE reported the FIPE's study includes Brazil's government projection that the World Cup will generate approximately $27.7B. Brazil's National Business Confederation of Goods, Services & Tourism (CNC) also published a study that "forecasts that the World Cup will create about 47,900 jobs" in the tourism sector. That evaluation was based on estimates that "around 3.6 million tourists will be travelling around Brazil during the competition" (EFE, 4/7).