Brazil’s Answer to Air Travel Chaos: To Build a New Airport

    Dara, Dora and Anny help find victims' bodies

    Dara, Dora and Anny help find victims' bodies Three days after Brazil's worst air accident ever, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva addressed the nation and promised that in 90 days he will be announcing the construction of a new airport for the city of São Paulo.

    Lula five minutes speech late Friday evening begun with a message to the "hearts of all Brazilians" asking God to give strength to all the families of the victims of the Tuesday air accident, when a landing TAM Airbus 320 skidded off Congonhas's airport runway and crashed into a repairs building killing all 187 passengers and crew members plus ground personnel.

    Only 45 bodies were identified until now by the coroner's office. The work of rescuers has turned now to collecting fragments of bodies under the rubble with the help of search dogs.

    Congonhas airport is Brazil's busiest with over 20 million travelers annually, but it is also one of the most difficult for pilots since runways are too short for large modern aircraft, and the whole area is insufficiently drained causing additional problems when it rains.

    Originally in the middle of fields, but now trapped in the sprawling cement of São Paulo, Congonhas has become the hub for regional flights and has suffered several tragic accidents in the last few years.

    However as promised by Lula, Congonhas traffic will in the future be significantly reduced to flights in the São Paulo region and the Rio/São Paulo shuttle, a new international air terminal is to be built and overall air safety should be improved.

    A federal judge closed Congonhas for several days last summer on safety grounds and it was reopened on promises of improved runways drainage conditions. This Friday, 19 pilots refused to land in Congonhas fearful of what happened last Tuesday.

    Lula promised a rigorous investigation into all events of last Tuesday but also cautioned that it will all be done with no "precipitation or impassiveness", adding that "we don't want to condemn or absolve with precipitated actions so as not to commit possible injustice."

    Besides practical common sense measures for the airport, Lula promised to exert greater influence over the Civil Aviation Agency to ensure they act in defense of travelers; a modernization of Brazil's air traffic conditions thus cutting drastically potential risks.

    As to the cause of the accident, TAM airlines revealed early Friday that a thrust reverser from the crashed aircraft had been deactivated during maintenance checks.

    The reversers can be used to help jets slow down on landing but TAM Airlines insisted the deactivation was in accordance with proper procedures and "in conditions stipulated by the maintenance of the manufacturer Airbus and approved by Brazil's National Civil Aviation Agency".

    Tam Airlines' comments came after Brazil's Globo TV said a problem with the right thrust reverser had emerged four days before the crash.

    Tam said Airbus's own manual says an inspection can be done up to 10 days after it is first detected and that the plane can continue to operate in the meantime. The same plane, it was reported, had problems landing at Congonhas the day before the crash.

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    • Show Comments (33)

    • No Name

      O Velhino
      I will. Thanks. Thats really nice! I am also trying to understand Brazil’s history better than I do hoping it will help me understand how Brazil’s politics got to where it is now. So if you know any good sites on this…. :-

      Oh and by the way I definately don’t belong to the party of Pires! Did he get fired yet?

    • No Name

      O Velhino
      Nope. Gotta translate it. I use an online translator or ask my husband to translate for me. Much to his dismay. I should know how to speak Portuguese by now.

    • No Name

      O Velhino
      No my friend, just stating a fact… and in case you don’t get it, I’m routing for Brazil.

    • No Name

      O Velohino
      Yea, fix Brazil’s problems as a whole first then fix ATC. That’ll work…how many more people will have to pay with their lives in the meantime?
      Brazil’s government doesn’t have much of a choice but to fix this one way or another. The whole world is watching. Guidance was the wrong title to use. I certainly didn’t mean guidance from me dua. I’m not that egotistical. and Bo, I knew you would say that the minute I wrote Opptimistic. Thats a baaaaaad word to use on this blog. Especially from a gringa!

      😀 😀 😀

    • No Name

      Ric
      Yes Technically Brazil can do it of course, but with the corruption and length of time that it takes to get things done is certainly a huge factor. Its in the worlds best interest that Brazil’s ATC and airport infrastructure runs properly and no corners are cut so that $ can end up in corrupt politicians pockets. The USA certainly has its share of corruption but the USA can get issues like Denver resolved. After the issues at Congonhas, and issues in Brazil in general, maybe at least an international consulting group might be warranted. But I suppose theres always the chance that they are bribed to look the other way as well. At the very least I’m encouraged that Brazil is admitting that there is a problem and are contemplating ideas to fix. Maybe that alone will bring forth offers of help from the international community. I’m opptimistic…

    • No Name

      Guidance
      Brazil needs international help to solve this (and a watchdog).

    • Brazilian Dude

      Sorry to sound defeatist, but in this country solutions are NOT considered important. Whai IS important is APPEARING to be doing something, and producing nice sound bites so the illiterate poor will continue giving you their vote. All our politicians are aware of that, starting with our phenomenal president. The masses don’t fly, and actually enjoy a moment of perverse glee at seeing the “rich” (I wish!) turning to crispy critters for their sins (which sins? the sin of not starving, of being able to afford a plane ticket paid for in installments…). The president himself constantly gripes about the “Elites” which are trying to sabotage his “working-class government” (heck, I guess those eighty-dollar cigars he loves, as well as the egyptian-cotton robes, and the four-thousand-dollar wines, are all typical blue-collar fare…)
      Therefore, all the bastard will do is sit on his fat ass until this blows over, and keep up his Bolsa-FamÀƒ­lia program,so as to maintain his faithful miserable voters in line.

    • João da Silva

      [quote]The next one may be built SE of town close to the Mario Covas beltway (Rodoanel).
      [/quote]

      You are right, provided the construction is financed by his family ,bringing back the $ from the Cayman Islands and converting the currency one to one.

    • Ric

      And
      The next one may be built SE of town close to the Mario Covas beltway (Rodoanel).

    • Ric

      SÀƒ£o Paulo metro area has about 18 million people. By contrast, my home town, Los Angeles, has 12.9 million in the “L.A. Metro” area, 17.6 million in the 5-county “Greater L.A.” area.

      Serving L.A. Metro are at least seven airports that have airline service. That includes John Wayne, our old Santa Ana Dragstrip, and Ontario, which are not in LA County but do serve the metro area. Then there are about a dozen general aviation and private airports.

      And Viracopos is a long way from SP City. It used to be the only SP area airport capable of long-haul flights before Garulhos was built.

      So the answer to your question is “more”.

    • kolinda grabar

      VARIGOL
      SP has two more airports: GUARULHOS and VIRACOPOS
      how much airports a tropical city need?

    • O Velhino

      No Name
      [quote] will. Thanks. Thats really nice! I am also trying to understand Brazil’s history better than I do hoping it will help me understand how Brazil’s politics got to where it is now. So if you know any good sites on this….
      [/quote]

      Thanks for asking! Actually, this site is a good one to come to know a bit of history of our country in ENGLISH. Some of the articles are real and others white washed. The recent one I liked is called ” Brazilian Jihad”. The author is very subtle in pointing about the important role, our armed forces have always played in constructing our nation.

      [quote]Oh and by the way I definately don’t belong to the party of Pires! Did he get fired yet?
      [/quote]

      Good that you dont belong to the party of Pires (May be your hubbyÀ‚´s party?).Pires has something about our armed forces (and he alsways had). He takes pleasure in berating the Military,just like your ex secretary of Defence, Rummy Dumbsfeld.Pires hasnt been fired yet and wouldnt be suprised if he retains his job.Another Teflon Politico. I dont know if your husband told you about another great minister we have. She goes by the name of Marta and is in charge of Tourism. I dont think U.S. has a Ministry of Tourism,but we do have it here. Pires and Marta make a terrific pair to project our image abroad.

      Anyway, you keep track of the news from here and influence your hubby to vote for the right people in our next elections.

    • forrest Brown

      i am wire less and have a satlight phone
      I find it proof positive that .
      the governing parties in the world talk and set ruels that we the people have to live by ,
      while they go about there marry way

      the goverment can frezze bank accounts for any one in any country
      but when it comes to stoping one of therte own from moveing stolen money and goods from place to place well .
      they turn there heads as if there was a naked fat man in front of them

      just like drug dealers if we take away the abilty to keep and spend the money
      and put the

      scrotom sucking jizzem gargliging fagots in jail . where all there anil rentintave views wont
      harm or kill people again
      that is when i will be very to be a human

    • João da Silva

      To:Forrest
      [quote]and you all dont understand me and boats , i can leave
      written by forrest Brown, 2007-07-22 12:10:35
      [/quote]

      Leave for where, Admiral ? You threatening to desert from your duties ? We dont accept this. I think you should be court martialed for making such statement.Gross dereliction of your duties.

      You better stay in this blog and continue to express your opinion freely .After all we do believe in freedom of speach. One word again from you about leaving, I am sending my goon squad after you (make sure you give me your coordinates to locate you).

      btw, AES is back and GTY is MIA. Professor is on a secret mission.Bo is getting off his arse,saying something useful. A Brazilian comes on and off. Ch.c is enjoying his sweet and short swiss summer.Ric,as you know already is in touch too ( A real good technocrat).Of course, we have our good friend Simpleton,giving his opinions (they count a lot too)

      It is a really a mad ,mad,mad world, Forrest. You take care and keep up the good work.

    • O Velhino

      No Name
      [quote]Nope. Gotta translate it. I use an online translator or ask my husband to translate for me. Much to his dismay. I should know how to speak Portuguese by now.
      [/quote]

      Good that your hubby is willing to translate. Get into the blogs of http://www.terra.com.br,www.estadao.com.br and express your views in English. After all you are married to a Brasilian citizen and you have every right to express your opinion.If you need further advice,am willing to give you.

    • O Velhino

      TO:No Name
      [quote]No my friend, just stating a fact… and in case you don’t get it, I’m routing for Brazil.
      [/quote]

      I did get it and thanks for it. We got to keep the pressure on these unscruplous politicos.Just wait till Monday. We will see more stuff coming in. I wish our reporters are bolder.

      Do you understand written Portuguese?

    • O Velhino

      To:No Name
      [quote]Brazil’s government doesn’t have much of a choice but to fix this one way or another. The whole world is watching.[/quote]

      You seem so sinister and ominous about the entire world watching. A friend of mine who was visiting us is returning to U.S. Flying TAM next week to NYC. Fortunately flying through GRU,that has a longer runway .He was a bit nervous after the accident and but didnt want to change to another airlines,because he believes in the skill of our Aviators. He never liked Congonhas either.

      So you intend to be the spokesperson of the “Entire World”, you firebrand?

    • O Velhino

      [quote]Can I get odds that they’ll go 4-5X over budget and numeruos people will come out of this project with penthouses in the U.S. and Europe?
      [/quote]

      This is what No Name and I were thinking about, when she mentioned that the International Community can help. BY PREVENTING THE FUCKS FROM BUYING PROPERTIES with stolen money in U.S. or Europe.

    • O Velhino

      To:No Name
      [quote]Guidance
      written by No Name, 2007-07-22 16:19:28

      Brazil needs international help to solve this (and a watchdog). [/quote]

      Very well put,if one thinks deeply. Freeze the accounts of those goddammed corrupt poticians in secret bank accounts in Switzerland, the multi nationals refusing to offer bribes to get governement contracts,refusing potical asylums to the politicians who robbed the poor,refuse entry visas to similar ones, etc;

      You can develop my line of thoughts further.There is no point in your sitting there in SF and giving some more ideas. btw, I hope you dont belong to the party of Pires. 😉

    • bo

      [quote]I’m opptimistic…[/quote]

      Spend a decade or two in Brazil, read the corruption scandals week after week and the policy of impunity that is practiced towards all politicians. They literally have licenses to steal. You would probably find that you wouldn’t be too optimistic about too many things in brazil other than there will be more corruption and those responsible will never go to jail.

    • Ric

      I doubt it. If Denver can do it, closing Stapleton and building a new airport, Brazil can do it. I remember landing night IFR at Stapleton on parallel 27 runways, they were long, but the city was close at hand on both sides and straight ahead if something went wrong. They shut it down and rebuilt, and thatÀ‚´s only one medium-sized city, not a country.

    • forrest Brown

      and you all dont understand me and boats , i can leave
      fly to chili clear skies blue water

      you can fly to JP in PE and hop out of brasil to the north

    • bo

      [quote]Oh well, At least a nice new airport will be built and we can all look forward to using it when it’s finished…..in 25 years? 35 years? Maybe 50 years?[/quote]

      Can I get odds that they’ll go 4-5X over budget and numeruos people will come out of this project with penthouses in the U.S. and Europe?

      Power outages?? Flights from the U.S. returning home?? WTF is that? And I’m planning to travel to the U.S. within the next month. Always take a direct flight that’s only on Sundays, Tam, from Salvador to Miami, naturally we fly directly over the Amazon.

    • João da Silva

      Forrest/AES/Ric:try to think like a brasilian
      What Forrest wants to say is that there are plenty of cost effective solutions and but it is NOT profitable for the Politicians to Reduce the cost,but to REINVENT the wheels.Let me tell you something. We do not have money in the coffer to build so many new air ports and it is the “Delusion de grandeur” (Excuse my French) on the part of the people in power. I wonder if they really think that they could interest foreign investors into this game. Something strange going on.

      Re the comment of Jay:”President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says Brazil’s aviation system is “passing through difficulties,” but is compatible with all international standards.”. You all know it is a bullshit. Jay, a question: You being a pilot,have you flown into the Brasilian skies and if so, how long you have been experiencing difficulties with the ATC,busy hubs,nasty runways, etc:-?

      And AES, I finally managed to watch the video and it is wonderful and let me ask for clarifications later. Now that your brief vacation is over, you better get back to work!

      Hey guys, have a great week end,but keep posting.

    • doggydaddy

      Re Ric
      I touched on this idea about Campo de Marte becoming the alternative to Congonhas. a few days ago.Good thinking Mate. Sadly I have not heard or seen anyone else in Brazil suggest this.Why? Because it is to logical a solution. Also there is a Metro ( Subway) stop quite close as well for mass transit needs.. Workers and Pax to readly access the airport.

    • Jay Glenn

      “passing through difficulties,”
      SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) – A two-hour radar outage at a facility in the Amazon Saturday forced at least six planes to return to their point of origin or divert to other airports.

      “This is total chaos here. I have never seen anything like (it) and it makes me feel very unsafe,” said Eli Rocha, 52, of Oklahoma City, who was trying to head to Dallas with his 12-year-old son.

      Rocha was delayed at Sao Paulo’s International Airport Saturday amid scores of passengers arriving from the United States after hours of delays.

      This followed the country’s deadliest air disaster. One hundred and ninety-one people were killed in a crash Tuesday in Sao Paulo.

      Further shaking Brazilians’ confidence, authorities said Saturday they had mistaken a piece of the fuselage from Tuesday’s accident for the flight recorder and sent it to a laboratory for analysis.

      President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says Brazil’s aviation system is “passing through difficulties,” but is compatible with all international standards.

    • Jay Glenn

      Radar outage in Brazil forces flights from Miami to return
      Just a little FYI

      @ http://www.southflorida.com

      RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – An unexplained two-hour outage at a radar facility in the Amazon forced at least four American Airlines flights from the U.S. heading to Brazil to return to Miami International airport early Saturday.

      Carol Cavalcante, an official with Brazil’s national airport authority Infraero, confirmed that radar under the command of the Cindacta-4 radar center headquartered in the Amazon city of Manaus went down, but didn’t give an indication as to what caused the problem.

      “Everything is back to normal now. It was out for about two hours. It’s true, some flights were sent back to their point of origin at that time,” Cavalcante said.

      Marc Henderson, a spokesman for the Miami International airport, said four American Airlines flights heading to Sao Paolo and Rio de Janiero were sent back to Miami. He could not confirm whether it was because of radar problems.

      Three of the flights had originated in Miami, and the other began in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, he said.

      American Airlines, based in Ft. Worth, Texas, did not return phone messages left on its after-hours hotline or with its Miami spokeswoman.

      Saturday’s radar problems come on the heels of Tuesday’s crash at an airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. The accident — the worst in Brazil’s history — killed 191 people.

    • forest Brown

      try to think like a brasilian
      okay i can see the problem here and where it is going

      we are trying to use logic and deductive reasoning to solve a problem
      in Brazil

      we all should know by now that does not work .

      we have to think
      what can i make out of it ,
      will it help me get votes
      how can i use this to my favor before my rivals use it on me

      then it will be simple

      the new air port will be 2 billion reals and 3 years to build
      out of which i can take 14% each year and extend the build time to 6 years
      make the airport run up too 7 billionÀ‚ À‚ one of which i have taken for my own use

    • aes

      Purchase the property at the end of the runway, demolish the structures and extend the runway, run the highway under the runway.

    • Ric

      Good Point, and think about this:
      Congonhas has a total area of 1.6 million square meters. ItÀ‚´s on a hill.

      Campo de Marte has a total area of 2.1 million square meters. ItÀ‚´s flat. Move the military somewhere else, move the helicopters and general aviation to Congonhas, make Marte the hub (again), and lengthen the runway through Imminent Domain.

      The damming will be done on the Madeira River. Changing airports is much, much easier.

    • João da Silva

      by the time the new airport is built rio and sao paulo well be togeather
      You trying to interfere in the internal affairs of our country,Admiral?

      If S Paulo and Rio will be together, we build another airport in Rio. We build,build and build Airports,Sea Ports and Space Ports around SP and Rio.The rest of the country be dammed 😉

    • forest Brown

      by the time the new airport is built rio and sao paulo well be togeather
      i did not see dozens of laywers linging up the victums surviors to sue TAM
      as we did in the US crash
      does it make you think that the brasilians know they can only get money out
      of a forgin company or people

      or be put off till they themselves are dead and gone by the ever so slow courts in brasil
      as we all know the justic system in brasil moves by the ev aloustion clock
      unless it is something the goverment wants to hide

    • Ilya

      Funny
      It’s really funny…..no, not the plane crash but TAM’s statement that the Airbus’s non-working reverse thruster didn’t have to be dealt with for 10 days because the manual says so. Well, HOLY SHIT! Can’t anyone there think for themselves, can’t anyone there take some initiative????
      Congonhas’s runways are dangerously short, the runways are slippery when wet and still ungrooved, and other planes before the crash had problems because of those conditions, issues well known to all the airlines there, yet in fine Brasilian fashion no action is taken. A big airplane like the A 320 needs all the help it can get to stop safely in those conditions, yet, “well, the manual doesn’t say that an non-working reverse thruster should be dealt with immediately”.
      In fine Brasilian fashion, NO ONE WANTS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING, NO ONE WANTS TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES, NO ONE WANTS TO TAKE INITIATIVE.
      And as a result, 200 innocent people lost their lives and hundreds more are in profound grief over losing loved ones.
      Oh well, At least a nice new airport will be built and we can all look forward to using it when it’s finished…..in 25 years? 35 years? Maybe 50 years?

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