Has Brazil Overcome its Aeronautic Crisis?

Sunday, September 9, 2007
By George Hatcher

Three ANAC directors ( Denise Abreu, Jorge Luiz Veloso and Leur Lomanto) have resigned, leading ANAC ( Brazil’s National Civil Aeronautics Agency) to claim that the country’s aeronautic crisis has been overcome–a political move laying the blame of the entire system on the heads of three individuals.

President Lula told local radio that “problems still exist at the airports.” Statistics show that 11 percent of flights, 20 percent of which were canceled, were delayed during the holidays on Independence Day.

ANAC claims that problems began in Sept. 2006, when a GOL plane crashed in Mato Gross, killing 154, but the problem stems from a much earlier budget cut. The air disaster merely drew attention to the growing problem. The underfunded Brazilian air system has suffered from cutbacks and lowered standards across the board. Planes have been out of service for maintenance, and the airline Varig stopped flying.

When overworked traffic controllers stated their demands, a group of them was transferred from Air Defense to Civil Aviation.

After the TAM plane crash in July, killing 200 people, the Congonhas runway (known for its abbreviated length) in Sao Paulo was closed for resurfacing.

Replacements for Denise Abreu, Jorge Luiz Veloso and Leur Lomanto, have not been selected.

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