Damaged Cargo Aircraft Exposes Poor Infrastructure At Brazil's Airports

Brazil's poor infrastructure was again confirmed over the weekend at one of Sao Paulo international airports, Viracopos, when a damaged cargo aircraft blocked activities forcing 450 flight cancellations and overloading the already saturated capacity of other air terminals.

"The airport is with the main runway blocked since Saturday, when the cargo plane had the accident. We're waiting for the right equipments to arrive so we can remove the aircraft", a spokesman of the the government agency responsible for the airports, Infraero, said.

A plane from U.S.-based Centurion Cargo blew a tire upon landing at the only runway late Saturday. Special equipment is needed to move the massive jet off the runway, sources said.

Adding to the mess is the check-in system at Tam Airlines, Brazil's biggest. It was down for hours Monday morning, causing more delays.

Viracopos is considered the third most important air terminal in Sao Paulo, Brazil's industrial and financial hub, and the second major cargo airport in the country.

Early Monday there were long queues waiting for the delayed flights. International flights to Argentina and Portugal had to be cancelled said Infraero. Viracopos also is the main hub for Azul which represents 85 percent of flights.

The delays in Viracopos are also having an impact in other regional airports which are also operating at maximum capacity.

Brazil's airports are under scrutiny as the nation prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. The nation has promised to make quick advances in airport capacity and efficiency, sources said.

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