Travellers may be in for travel chaos in Brazil airports this summer.
Infrastructure experts have said Brazil is out of time to meet its promise to fully expand and renovate airports with the World Cup less than 10 weeks away. Hundreds of thousands of fans will be pouring into Brazil for the World Cup that begins in two months time.
Two of the thirteen major airports in development that will be used during the tournament are ready to go. Most analysts have said not to expect total chaos but travellers should prepare for unfinished construction work, long check in lines, last minute gate changes and delays in flights. These features are already too common in Brazil’s airports.
Boarding areas are likely to be crowded, claiming baggage will be difficult, food and shopping options will be limited and connections or transfers will be busy. Taxis will be the main option of getting into the city and queues of traffic will be long.
Despite this, government reports show that improvements are still underway.
“They say the work will be finished, but a lot of it will just be last-minute solutions to hide what isn’t ready,” said Adriano Pires, a top infrastructure analyst. “The level of comfort will be far from ideal. Brazil had time to get the airports ready, but it took too long to start. From what people will see at the airports, Brazil’s image won’t be a very good one.”
Omar Daniel Martins Netto, civil aviation and airport consultant based in Curitiba said, “This is what happens in a country where lack of planning is normal, everything is late.”
600,000 foreign visitors and 3 million Brazilian tourists are expected during the tournament. International fans have bought more than 1.5 million tickets for soccer’s showcase event.
Back up plans are being prepared such as the temporary canvas terminal instead of a planned airport expansion in Fortaleza. We won’t really know the extent of the chaos or how operations will go until fans begin arriving in Brazil. Ahead of the London Olympics, critics argued that the games would be chaos and that the park and surrounding areas were not ready to receive visitors. Yet the games went ahead and went well. However, when figures like Pelé are publicly expressing their concern, it doesn’t inspire confidence in what’s ahead.
Aviation has never been more important in a World Cup as it is now.