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NEWS Last modified on May 20, 2014

Brazil will pass airport World Cup test, according to Fitch Ratings

Brazil’s airports are likely to accommodate the traffic challenges the FIFA World Cup will present and pass the test, despite some gateways being behind in upgrades, Fitch Ratings says.

The South American country is set to welcome 3.7 million passengers to 12 from June 12 to July 13, with approximately 600,000 likely to be foreign tourists arriving directly through Brazil’s gateways.

Rio de Janeiro is expected to see approximately 544,000 visitors, and Sao Paulo, about 390,000.

“As Brazil's railway network is limited, airport infrastructure will be critical,” the ratings agency Fitch, says in a release on its website.

Fitch explains, that according to Empresa Brasileira de Infraestrutura Aeroportuaria (INFRAERO), around BRL5.6 billion (€1.85 billion) was invested in the improvement of airport infrastructure for the World Cup.

Most of the work was dedicated to building, or renovating passenger terminals, aircraft gates and runway conditions.

“The majority of airports are ready to accommodate the expected additional transit. The north-eastern venues of Salvador, Natal and Recife are already accustomed to operate at capacity during December/January summer vacations and carnival season,” Fitch adds.

Brazil cities staging FIFA World Cup fixtures

Of the airports being revamped, 10 are controlled by INFRAERO, and Fitch says Marechal Rondon International Airport (Cuiaba), Pinto Martins – Fortaleza International Airport (Fortaleza), and Tancredo Neves/Confins International Airport (Belo Horizonte), present the most significant risk of delays in finishing construction works by the World Cup.

Fitch continues: “The Cuiaba airport presents the most challenging situation, with only 75% of scheduled works completed, while Fortaleza will operate through temporary structures.”

Under private concessions, Brasília International Airport, and São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport, Fitch says have concluded most of their BRL4.0 billion (€1.3 billion) investments, but construction continues at both.

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, was reported on Monday in media reports, as saying the upgraded airports would be a ‘legacy’ of the FIFA World Cup.

In Rio, the main airport's capacity has been increased by 80%, and she adds more upgrades would be undertaken between the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

She adds the government was also investing BRL7.3 billion (€2.4 billion) on expanding 270 airports in Brazil.

Since 2003, Brazilian airport passenger traffic has surged from 33 million to 111 million a year, an increase that has strained the aging airport infrastructure and caused severe delays.

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